The British health secretary said over-70s will be asked to self-isolate “in the coming weeks” to try to protect them from coronavirus – and it could potentially last for months.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said the UK was likely to need “many more times” its current inventory of 5,000 ventilators, amid concerns hospitals will come under intense pressure.
He said the growing virus outbreak meant “the elderly and vulnerable” would be asked to “shield themselves by self-isolating”.
When pushed on whether they could be asked to isolate for up to four months, he said it was a possible action plan, and details will be provided when it is the right time to do so. This would be for the self-protection of the elderly and vulnerable.
Older people with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk if they catch the coronavirus.
Mr. Hancock said the government did not want to act too soon, but they need to be ready.