THE GOVERNMENT are urging those with underlying health conditions to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

The group, identified as being as the most at risk of developing a serious illness due to coronavirus, will receive a letter from the NHS "shortly" with detailed advice.

On Monday, the Prime Minister urged everyone to limit their social contact, with the elderly and those with underlying health conditions told to pay particular attention.

Now, six days later, 1.5 million people are being told to go further and to stay at home.

The six steps released by the NHS include:

  1. Strictly avoid contact with anyone with Covid-19 symptoms
  2. Do not leave your house
  3. Do not attend any gatherings
  4. Food or medication should be left at the door
  5. Keep in touch with phone, internet and social media
  6. Use the phone or go online to contact your GP or other essential services.

Robert Jenrick, Communities Secretary, said: "Public safety and making sure that those most at risk from the virus continue to get the support they need throughout this period is the Government’s top priority.

"People should stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. 

"This will be an especially worrying time for those with serious underlying health conditions and that is why we are urgently acting to ensure extremely vulnerable individuals are taking extra steps to shield themselves, and that the essential items they need are supplied to them. 

"We will ensure that vulnerable and older people in our society are left in no doubt of their importance to us and our determination to protect them as best we can. More people will be required to be by themselves at home. While they are on their own, let’s guarantee that they are never alone."

A helpline for the most in need of support will be set up, for those considered "extremely vulnerable due to their medical conditions".

As well as this, a new Local Support System will allow those self-isolating without friends and family being able to support them will receive basic groceries, whilst community pharmacies will deliver medicines.

Essential items will be delivered to those who need it as soon as possible, with the government working with the groceries industry, local government, local resilience and emergency partners, and voluntary groups.

The underlying health conditions include severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis, severe chronic bronchitis or cancer of the blood or bone marrow.

It will also include some of those people receiving treatments which suppress the immune system.

The full list is:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with specific cancers
  • 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, homozygous sickle cell disease)
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • Women who are pregnant and who also have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired