NUMBER 10 has reportedly dropped plans to target over 50s in a fresh lockdown as the Government was urged to impose any new measures on young people.
Downing Street was reportedly mulling whether to impose new shielding restrictions on millions of over 50s should there be a second wave.
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Ministers have now shelved the plans following a backlash after Boris Johnson was urged not the pursue such an "ageist" and "ill-thought-out" plan, reports The Telegraph.
Downing Street killed off the scheme after officials deemed it impractical, hard to enforce, feared it could stall economic recovery, and could be seen as a mixed message.
In a bid to avoid another national lockdown, Brits aged between 50 and 70 could have be given personalised risk ratings for coronavirus.
The move would have added to the 2.2million people who shielded during the virus's peak, reported The Sunday Times.
Ministers canned the scheme as one said "even if you were able to work out the practicalities, how would you enforce it?".
Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier dismissed the reports of the over 50s plan as "inaccurate" and "speculation" while speaking on Sky News.
However, the PM was urged to crackdown on young people flouting the rules after a hot weekend saw beaches and bars packed in a 37.8C scorcher.
Joan Bakewell, a former Government adviser, told the Daily Mail that ministers needed to tackle youngsters flouting restrictions before targeting the older generation.
She said: "Certainly older people have to take care – I have been taking great care myself – but what is happening is that young people are not distancing and they are not wearing masks. The young have got to get their act together.
"Young people assume it is over and are not distancing themselves as they should.
"They know they should, they have been told they should, but they cannot be bothered.
"That is the crux."
Former Tory minister Ros Altmann also told the paper that asking over 50s to go into isolation would be "dangerous and wrong".
She said: "What we're talking about here is a group in society that is being potentially singled out for different treatment just on the basis of their age.
"It's not that the over-50s are somehow old and therefore at risk and the under-50s are young and therefore not at risk."
Labour peer Lord Foulkes added that the policy would be "ageist and ill-thought-out", and noted that "over 50s are key to our economy".
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sought to downplay the proposals, denying that they were "being actively considered" but insisted that the Government was reviewing all available options.
Fears are growing over a second wave hitting the UK as the PM slowed his plans to lift further lockdown measures amid rising figures in Europe.
Local lockdowns are also being rolled out, with 4.5 million Brits in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire seeing restrictions reintroduced after a surge in infection.
Pictures from popular tourist spots over the weekend show many people gathering outside bars and pubs and not social distancing.
Punters also spilled out onto the streets of Central London in the warm weather – as pubs maintain strict capacity rules inside.
Brighton and Hove Council were even forced to issue a warning to sunseekers not to visit the tourist hotspot over the weekend due to fears of crowding.
Deputy leader of Cornwall Council Adam Paynter also hit out against holidaymakers arriving in droves from other parts of the country, claiming locals were fearful it could spark a fresh wave of infections in the region.
He slammed tourists who refused to wear a mask, telling LBC they were "pretty ignorant thinking that coronavirus doesn't exist down here."
Mr Johnson has insisted the UK is taking "every reasonable step" to prepare for a surge in virus cases – with some lockdown easing measures have been slowed down.
The PM said he was "squeezing the brake pedal" after the number of cases in the UK has begun to creep up – with 938 cases being confirmed on Monday, the biggest rise for 38 days.
He had been keen to try get life back to normal as shops and pubs reopened while people were urged to get back to work following three months of lockdown first introduced in March.
The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance meanwhile has warned of a "risk" of a new lockdown required come the winter.
Mr Johnson is also said to be considering bursting the "bubble" system which allows separate households to meet under one roof.
Scientific advisers warned that too much mingling between family groups was the main cause of an alarming rise in infections.
The PM is treating a second lockdown as the "nuclear deterrent" and been clear he wants to avoid having to shut down the country again.
A No 10 source said: "Another national lockdown is like our nuclear deterrent — we will never rule it out but it should be the very last resort in the fight against Covid."
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