“Presumably, police officers would have to be given the right to fine those caught breaking the age rule,” the researchers said. “The vast majority of citizens in the UK carry driving licenses that would allow a police officer to check their date of birth. Most nations have something similar.
“A release of younger people might, we appreciate, cause resentment among those older than the age group released. Nevertheless, to reassure them, the older groups could be told when their turn would eventually arrive and they could be encouraged to check a Government-sponsored website detailing the exact risk by age pattern of the virus.”
The Government has set out five tests that would allow the lockdown to be lifted. Most have now been passed or nearly passed, suggesting some restrictions will soon be lifted.
Professor Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, has said the reproduction “R” rate of the virus is now below one, and experts are calculating what restrictions can be removed while keeping infections down.
It is possible that restrictions for the over-70s and vulnerable people will be left in place until a vaccine or treatment is found or herd immunity achieved.
It is well-known that the risk of death from coronavirus rises with age. While the chance of dying from the virus for anyone under 50 is less than 0.5 per cent, it jumps to 1.3 per cent after 50, and nearly trebles to 3.6 per cent after 60. By the time someone reaches 70, their risk of dying has reached eight per cent, rising to 14.8 per cent for the over-80s – by far the most vulnerable group.