The Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese has called for a £14m a month shielding programme for the vulnerable as an alternative to stricter lockdown conditions on the region.

Writing on his council blog Sir Richard said that

“Most people who test positive for the virus are not getting particularly ill. They are not the problem. Too many are now getting ill and the number of hospital cases is going up, as is the number of people with Covid in intensive care. That’s the problem. I’ve spent a fair chunk of time over the last week talking to hospital staff about exactly what is going on. The good news is that they expect that now with improved treatment, they don’t expect to see anything like the death rate we had back in April and May. The bad news is that if cases continue to rise, they will have to again start cancelling other patients treatments.”

He then proposes

They do though know who in the population is, if they catch the virus, most at risk of hospitalisation – older people and people with existing underlying conditions, diabetes, obesity, high-blood pressure, other respiratory illnesses. If this is the evidence, wouldn’t it be much better to have an effective shielding programme for those most at risk, rather than have a blanket business closure policy of dubious efficacy. Greater Manchester have estimated the cost of a shielding programme at around £14m a month, less than a fifth of the estimated cost of business closures.


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