DIABETICS may have to stay at home to shield against the coronavirus once lockdown is lifted.
Research has shown that those with the condition are at a significantly greater risk of dying if they catch the Covid-19 virus.
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Diabetics could face further restrictions on their movements due to the coronavirusCredit: Getty – Contributor
Prof Peter Horby, the chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said diabetes was being considered as part of an “active review” of the most vulnerable groups.
Last week it emerged that almost one in three people who have died from coronavirus in hospital had diabetes.
The professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine has now started advanced discussions with other government advisers, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Diabetics are currently classified as “clinically vulnerable” rather than “clinically extremely vulnerable” – the worst-affected group of people, who received letters from their doctors telling them they must stay at home under almost all conditions.
The scientists are debating whether diabetics need more protection now more research has been carried out.
Official figures showed people with autoimmune type 1 diabetes are three-and-a-half times more likely to die if they catch Covid-19 than non-diabetics, while type 2 diabetics – generally linked with being overweight – are twice as likely to die.
Despite those concerns Bridget Turner, the director of policy at Diabetes UK, said she hoped the government did not introduced any blanket ruling.
She said: “It’s important to remember that everyone with diabetes is different, so a blanket ask of shielding for everyone with diabetes is unlikely to be appropriate.”
Obesity has also been found to be a significant factor in the worst-affected Covid patients and has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Earlier this month, a study of almost half a million Britons found that being obese doubled the risk of needing hospital treatment for Covid-19.
Researchers from Glasgow University found that as body mass index (BMI) increased, so did the risk of having a severe case of the disease.
There are around four million diabetics in the UK and it is thought unlikely that all would be told to shield.
Ms Turner added: “That’s because the advice for people asked to shield is very restrictive, so it’s important to balance the advice against the level of risk.
“For those who are shielding, particularly if they do not need to, the psychological and emotional impact could be significant, while the stress – and restrictions to movement – could equally have an impact on someone’s overall health and well-being and, specifically, their blood glucose control.
“We understand that Nervtag will review the evidence for shielding, including what evidence is emerging about who is at highest clinical risk of severe illness if they catch Covid-19.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19 has been developed by expert doctors.
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“They have identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we know about the virus so far, place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
“We continue to keep this evidence under review.”
“For those who are shielding, particularly if they do not need to, the psychological impact could be significant.”
Prof Peter Horby, the chairman of Nervtag, is currently reviewing the advice for diabetics during the coronavirus outbreakCredit: Nuffield Department of Medicine
Diabetics were found to be at a greater risk of suffering if they caught Covid-19Credit: Getty – Contributor
Dad, 89, beats coronavirus despite suffering with diabetes and high blood pressure and needing ventilator
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