OBESE people in their 50s could be told to shield under new coronavirus lockdown rules, it's been reported.
Some 2.2 million vulnerable people were ordered to stay home during the the first wave of the Covid outbreak in the UK.
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But ministers are expected to ditch the "blanket approach" to shielding and replace it with more individualised advice, the Telegraph reported.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced a new three-tier local lockdown system today.
It was thought shielding advice would linked to the local threat level, however, there was no update leaving many vulnerable Brits in the dark.
Health officials have stressed that no final decisions on restarting the shielding programme have been made.
However, Government sources have told the newspaper that GPs could be expected to make their own assessments on the risks to their patients.
It could result in family doctors across the country racing to carry out rapid assessments of their patients on indivudal levels.
The plan would involve medics looking more specifically at an individual's circumstances, rather than issuing the same advice to all those with a particular disease.
Some criteria, such as undergoing cancer treatment, is likely to remain as part of centralised guidance.
It could mean that an obese smoker in their 50s, with a history of medical problems might be told to stay at home, the Telegraph reported.
Professor Martin Marshall, the chairman of the Royal College of GPs, told the newspaper on Friday: "It's vital that, as soon as any decisions are made about reintroducing shielding, these are clearly communicated to GPs in the areas that are affected, along with clear guidance about the role they will play in implementation.
"GPs and our teams will likely be the first port of call for patients with queries about whether they should shield or not, and why, so it's important that we are as informed as possible so that we can offer them appropriate advice and support."
Earlier in the pandemic, a Cabinet minister warned that obese Brits in Covid hotspots might have to shield indoors during the winter months.
Experts have spent months looking at ways NHS data can be used to target people in vulnerable groups.
These include people who are aged over 50 and those who are obese.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, those at risk will be contacted and urged to stay indoors.
The official said: “They are understanding that age does come into it.
“The shielding cohort is way too broad – you can't say that every fat person has to shield. It will be more subtle.”
It comes after Boris Johnson launched his war on obesity following his own battle with Covid-19.
The Prime Minister revealed junk food ads will be banned online and before TV's 9pm watershed.
Shops could also be barred from promoting unhealthy food and drink products in store.
The PM unveiled the sweeping new restrictions on the marketing of high-fat and sugary foods as part of his blueprint for making Brits leaner following evidence obese people are more likely to die from coronavirus.
His radical plans contrast with the PM’s previous opposition to nanny state interventions.
However, in May he said he had undergone a “damascene conversion” following his own brush with death after catching coronavirus, which disproportionately affects overweight men.
He said he the coronavirus pandemic had convinced him that urgent action was needed to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
But with coronavirus cases soaring once again – particularly in the North of England – Mr Johnson has been forced to step up other measures.
Speaking in the Commons today, the Prime Minister rejected the idea of a full national lockdown and "shuttering our lives and our society" – but said action was needed to stop the virus with his new plan.
Areas of England will be ordered into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels will be placed in a new three-tier system of local restrictions.
Liverpool will be placed under the highest level, while Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire will be put under the second tier.
The full list of areas and the tiers they are in is expected to be confirmed later today.
Mr Johnson said: "The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country.
"But I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed."
The PM said the new plan would help to simplify the current rules, adding: "This is not how we want to live our lives but it is the narrow path we have to tread."
And he said that while there was a "good chance" of a vaccine, it "cannot be taken for granted".
The number of coronavirus cases has so far quadrupled in the last three weeks with more people in hospital with the bug than when the country went into full lockdown in March.
Matt Hancock has today been briefing local leaders over the new restrictions with Merseyside MPs told that all bars and pubs would be closed in Liverpool – but restaurants would remain open for now.
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