Daily Mail|Elderly people will be told to stay at home under new government guidelines to tackle the outbreak of deadly coronavirus as health officials urge Britons to check in on their relatives.
The elderly should be prepared for ‘social distancing’ policies, which are to be announcement by ministers next week, government sources said.
Advice will include the elderly staying at home and avoiding crowded areas which the Department of Health warned could leave people ‘cut off’.
Guidelines also state that households should decide how their food will be delivered in case they have to self-isolate.
Two people have died from the virus – which has a mortality rate of 15 per cent in those over 80 – on British soil so far, both of whom were elderly.
On Thursday evening a woman in her 70s became the first person in the UK to die after being diagnosed with coronavirus while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
The woman – who had ‘underlying health conditions’ – tested positive for the killer infection on Wednesday before succumbing to the illness the following day.
And on Friday a grandfather in his early 80s died at Milton Keynes Hospital after he was admitted on March 3 with suspected pneumonia having recently returned from a cruise where he had visited several countries.
He had tested positive for the bug once already but the NHS must carry out further tests to confirm the case and rule out a false positive, MailOnline understands.
Fellow patients and hospital staff on his ward were isolated and a deep clean has been carried out.
Yesterday, two baggage handlers at London Heathrow tested positive for the killer infection.
Fears have been raised the virus could have passed onto passengers’ luggage, where it could survive for up to three days.
Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world and tens of thousands of travellers pass through the airport every day.
Science minister Amanda Solloway told The Daily Telegraph that Britons should keep in touch with their elderly friends and neighbours as they could be feeling isolated and ‘cut off’ from others.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said there may reach a point where the elderly would be told to stay indoors and keep away from busy areas, but the situation has not yet reached that point.
Drastic measures are expected to be introduced as the Government continues with its four-stage plan to deal with a mass outbreak of the bug as the number of confirmed cases rockets across the country.
Such measures could also include banning concerts and closing schools in a bid to stop the killer disease exploding across the country.
In total, 164 people have tested positive for coronavirus, up from 115 cases reported at the same time on Thursday as Norther Ireland confirmed its fourth case on Friday evening.
The Government revealed its four-stage plan earlier this week that includes a raft of socially and economically costly contingency moves as a last resort.
The 28-page ‘action plan’ was agreed at the first emergency Cobra meeting to be chaired by the PM on Monday in which it was explained there are four stages – contain, delay, research and mitigate – to dealing with the virus.