Millions of over 50s could be told to stay at home under a “nuclear” option to prevent a new nationwide lockdown if there is a second wave of coronavirus.

Boris Johnson is reportedly considering asking a greater number of people in England to take part in the shielding programme should there be a big spike in COVID-19 cases.

A Sunday Times report said people aged between 50 and 70 could be given personalised risk ratings, taking into account factors such as age and medical conditions.

2.2 million were deemed most vulnerable and asked to shield themselves from society during the spring peak of the virus – advice that ended on Saturday.