Hospitals could only treat coronavirus patients most likely to survive if the crisis escalates, it has been warned.
Professional bodies had been asked to draft up guidelines for triage patients if the outbreak escalates.
And it could mean patients with a poor prognosis may even be taken off ventilators in favour of people with better survival chances, reports Daily Mail.
Dr Shondipon Lah, of the Intensive Care Society, said: "Should it come to deciding any kind of triaging system, it will be patient-based and survival-based.
"Intensive care can be very invasive and severe before you get better, some people can't tolerate this.
"Frail people especially struggle to tolerate being on a ventilator for two weeks."
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He added that the guidelines are being prepared by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the Intensive Care Society.
He continued that they should be endorsed by the GMC, adding: "The basis of this is currently being discussed by the legal and ethical parts of both organisations."
Doctors say wards are already looking like "war zones".
Mass gatherings are also set to banned after sporting events were scrapped in the UK.
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A source told Mirror Online: “Ministers are working with the Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer on our plan to stop various types of public event, including mass gatherings, beginning next week.
“We are also talking to businesses and other bodies about the timing of moving towards much more widespread working from home.
“There are many complex considerations to make all these measures as effective as possible.
“We will make the right decisions at the right time based on the best scientific evidence.
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“For example, we are concerned about the burden large events put on public services – including the health service and the police – from dealing with coronavirus.
“Officials are working with industry bodies to identify how to support businesses that will be affected by this decision.
“We have drafted emergency legislation to give the Government the powers it needs to deal with coronavirus, including powers to stop mass gatherings and compensate organisations.
“We will publish this legislation next week.”
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