On whether people over the age of 60 or 70 should be subject to more stringent measures as lockdown is eased, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“The measures and restrictions imposed by the UK government and the expansion of NHS staff, resources and capacity have been aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19, to save lives and protect NHS services.
“Any move towards the easing of the current lockdown must be a flexible one and one based on science and data. It is crucial that the protection of the most vulnerable, the NHS, its staff and on the wider public health impact are at the forefront of any recommendations to do this. The British public’s consensus and willingness to collaborate in any easing of lockdown restrictions should also be a key component in the decision-making process.
“Any proposal to impose stricter social distancing for those at higher risk - essentially quarantining - based solely on age would be both unethical and illegal. Any moves to do this could only be justified if it were to protect individuals themselves, their families and the wider public. This applies equally to individuals whether to an arbitrary age of 60 or 70 or to younger people with underlying health conditions. A blanket-ban on any section of the population being prohibited from lockdown easing would be unacceptable.
“While any strategy to ease the lockdown must ensure the UK does not see a second wave of Covid-19 infection, it must also balance this with the rights and needs of individuals across the UK.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.