NHS boss says locking up older Brits to help slash Covid deaths is ‘implausible’

LOCKING up older Brits to help slash Covid deaths will never work, according to the head of the NHS.

Sir Simon Stevens warned an “age-based apartheid” where a fifth of the nation is told to isolate would be “implausible”.

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Sir Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, say that shielding the over-45s to fight Covid would never work [/caption]

It comes after it emerged Government scientists had considered plans to ask all over-45s to shield.

But the controversial plans were eventually dropped for being unworkable.Sir Simon, chief executive of NHS England, also blamed a lack of testing in early spring for the size of the UK death toll.

He said the biggest failing of the pandemic was focusing on China – when the majority of cases were being imported from Italy and France. The health boss said it meant we had “much more coronavirus circulating” than was known about.

Seven in ten working age Brits who died of Covid during the peak actually caught the bug before lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Speaking at The Spectator’s Alternative Conference, Sir Simon said: “The reason we will have ended up with the deaths that we have had is because we had much more coronavirus circulating in the community in February and March than was known about at the time. And that, in part is because of the absence of testing.”

He also made clear NHS Test and Trace was separate to the health service – and run by the Department of Health. Asked whether the UK should be looking to segregate older Brits, Sir Simon said infections are already spreading across age groups.


It comes as government scientists considered asking the age group to shield[/caption]

PA:Press Association/PA Images

Sir Simon Stevens also blamed a lack of testing for the spring death toll[/caption]



He added: “The idea that you could completely separate the fifth of the population who are aged over 65 say, I think is implausible. Not least because for some of the most vulnerable, they will be getting help from working age adults. So, you know, that’s just not the way the world works.

“Extra precautions for those at greatest risk is clearly a sensible part of the mix, but by itself, we’re not going to have age based apartheid across this country.” Sir Simon warned that Covid is now set to be around for “a long time”.

But he said he was “optimistic” that by winter there will be a vaccine that will help reduce mortality in high risk groups.

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