Clinically extremely vulnerable people will be urged to find ventilated space (Image: Getty Images)
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People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should avoid indoor spaces and people who have not been jabbed this summer, new government guidance on Covid will say.
The new advice for more than two people categorised as vulnerable will see them effectively excluded from society when laws on Covid curbs, including mandatory face masks, are dropped on July 19.
The move was branded “a survival of the fittest policy where the most vulnerable will be thrown to the wolves".
New Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out new guidance in the Commons, asking the vulnerable to avoid indoor spaces, or to look for ventilated places, and to give careful thought to meeting anyone who has not been vaccinated.
SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford blasted the Health Secretary, saying: “As vulnerable people can’t count on others wearing masks, for them July 19 all not be Freedom Day but the exact opposite.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson also pressed Mr Javid, asking: “Is he pursuing a survival of the fittest policy where the most vulnerable will be thrown to the wolves?”
Mr Javid defended the move but said the policy would be "kept under review".
He said the Government was publishing a "safe and gradual" and stressing the need for more "personal responsibility", he said: "It includes details of how we will encourage businesses and large events to use certification in high-risk settings to limit the risk of spreading the infection, how we will use guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable and details of a review we will be conducting in September to assess our preparedness for autumn and winter."
The list of those deemed vulnerable includes people being treated for some cancers and those with with severe respiratory conditions.
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It comes as the Government confirmed that people would be "expected", although not legally required, to continue to wear face masks in enclosed spaces, such as trains.
The apparent U-turn over guidance came after some suggested they would be ditching face coverings and making them a "personal choice".
The average number of daily cases is over 26,000 and has doubled over the last 11 days, Mr Javid said, adding they could reach as high as 100,000 this summer.
He said while hospitalisations would also rise, the Government would "stay vigilant" and monitor the prevalence and impact of Long Covid, amid concern young, unvaccinated people would be hit.
But he said "this is the right time to get our nation closer to normal life" and would move toward Step 4 of the roadmap.
He said the "wall" of protection the vaccine offered meant the country could withstand the summer wave.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “The Secretary of State has taken a high risk, indeed fatalistic, approach. Trying to guess what might happen in the winter, deciding that infections are going up anyway.
“Instead of caution he is putting his foot down the on the accelerator while throwing the seat belt off."