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LETTER: Worrying rumours regarding extended lockdown for older generation

Readers' letters | Published:

A reader questions the length of time lockdown could be enforced on the older generation.

An elderly man

Please may I ask readers to make some loud and concerned noise regarding the rumoured proposals that the over 70s remain in extended lockdown for many months - possibly up to 18 months.

The UN has strong views on the cruelty of solitary confinement as a punishment for convicted criminals ‘How long can you stay in solitary confinement?

It includes federal and state inmates placed in any form of "restricted housing" for at least 22 hours a day for more than 15 consecutive days. In 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture concluded that solitary confinement beyond 15 days constituted cruel and inhumane punishment’

It now appears that the UK government is considering confining many of its citizens, whose only crime is to have been born prior to 1951, to something remarkably akin to this, on the pretext that it is to protect their health. Given the large amount of research that charts the, often permanent, psychological damage of such exclusion from human contact, how can it possibly be considered proportionate?

If they wish to make advisory recommendations, that is one thing, but to give such measures the force of law, should surely be an inconceivable view of human rights. Can you imagine the outcry if these proposals were made on the basis of ethnicity, gender or body mass, rather than age?

Call me cynical, but my suspicion is that this is a convenient way to reduce the spread of the disease by removing the freedom of movement and association of the least economically productive 16 per cent of its citizens.

My daughter, currently working on the NHS frontline, is already very concerned at the depressive effect that, even the fear of such measures, is having upon me - a normally, almost annoyingly cheery person. I feel certain that I am far from alone in this despite being very much alone within these four walls for who knows how long.

Margaret Smith, Lower Gornal

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