THE proportion of people in Cheshire West and Chester who are aged 70 or over is higher than both the UK and regional average, according to figures released in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

People in this age category are among those most at risk of severe illness from the virus, which is why the Government has asked them to stay at home and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today (March 25) provided information on the proportion of people aged 70 or over in the UK, aimed at helping policymakers target support for the vulnerable more efficiently.

The statistics show that the percentage of people aged 70 or over in the Cheshire West and Chester authority area is 15.5%, which is above both the UK (13.2%) and North West (13.3%) figures.

Cheshire East (16.65%) had a higher proportion than Cheshire West and Chester, but both Halton (12.2%) and Warrington (13.4%) were far less.

The Office for National Statistics said: "(ONS) has today published its first statistics as part of a new webpage looking at the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK.

"In the first of a series of statistical publications, two releases have been published today looking at the employment and proportion of people over 70 around the UK.

"People aged 70 years and over have been highlighted as being among those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and this information is aimed at helping policy makers target support more efficiently.

"These releases follow a statement last week which outlined how the ONS plans to respond to the virus and our plans to provide comprehensive information on the impact of COVID-19 on our economy, labour market, population and society.

"COVID-19 is a significant challenge for the UK and we are working to ensure that the UK has the vital information needed to respond to the impact of this pandemic on our economy and society.

"This means we will need to ensure that information is provided faster, using new data sources and changing how our surveys operate, to ensure we provide the information necessary as the situation unfolds."

The employment statistics showed that in the UK there are around 528,000 people in employment aged 70 years or over, representing 1.6% of all people in employment aged 16 years or over.

Industries and occupations covering agriculture tended to have the greatest share of older workers, with 11.4% of workers in the crop and animal production and hunting industry being aged 70 years or over.