The government announced on Sunday that it would be sending letters to 1.5 million people in England suffering from one of more than a dozen serious conditions which it is believed put them most at risk from coronavirus.
Around 40% of the group receiving the letters advising them to “take themselves out of society” for at least 12 weeks are aged 75 or older. They will be “strongly advised” to stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact. They should not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact, the letter says.
Others have been urged to do everything they can to help the group, “whether it’s going shopping for a neighbour in need, or keeping inside if you know you’re at risk,” by health secretary Matt Hancock.
The groups defined as “extremely vulnerable” who will receive the letter are:
- Solid organ transplant recipients.
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or Parp inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.