Over 70s advised to remain at home and avoid contact in gut-wrenching lockdown U-turn | Politics | News

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Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister laid out new rules which allow unlimited exercise outdoors and mixing with one person from another household. But he said elderly men and women should not venture out just yet.

He said: “I’m sorry to say however, Mr Speaker, that we shall continue to ask those who are clinically vulnerable including pregnant women and people over 70 or those with pre-existing chronic conditions to take particular care to minimise contact with those outside their household.

“And we must continue to shield people who are extremely vulnerable. They should, I’m afraid, remain at home and avoid any direct contact with others.”

He added: “I know that easing restrictions for the many will only increase the anguish of those who must remain shielded. So the Government will look at every possible way of supporting the most vulnerable.”

The relaxing of some of the rules will not mean any change for millions of grandparents who had been hoping to be allowed to visit relatives and hug their grandchildren.

The Prime Minister issued a statement on the coronavirus pandemic in the House of Commons this afternoon.

He sought to provide clarity on the new rules after he announced a string of changes in an address to the nation on Sunday night.

Mr Johnson was hit by a wave of criticism following his speech last night, with many accusing him of confusing the public about what is allowed and not allowed.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock tells Britons when they can hug grandchildren again VIDEO

It says: “It remains the case that some people are more clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 than others.

“These include those aged over 70, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women.

“These clinically vulnerable people should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households, but do not need to be shielded.

“Those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact; this is called ‘shielding’.”

Shielding means a person should not leave their home unless for very limited exceptions. 

A spokesperson for the Government told Express.co.uk: “The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

“They will be able to go outside for exercise more frequently, but they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.

“Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, irrespective of age, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.”

Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer responded by telling Mr Johnson his actions and words have caused “considerable confusion”.

Mr Starmer said: “What the country needs at this time is clarity and reassurance and at the moment both are in pretty short supply.”

The Labour leader went on to hit out at Mr Johnson, claiming the Government’s lockdown review plan had not been fully written or finalised when he addressed the nation last night.

Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer responded by telling Mr Johnson his actions and words have caused “considerable confusion”.

Mr Starmer said: “What the country needs at this time is clarity and reassurance and at the moment both are in pretty short supply.”

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