THOUSANDS of vulnerable people in the borough were told to shield in the Covid lockdown late, NHS figures have revealed.

NHS Digital figures show 4,255 patients in Thurrock were on the shielding list by April 12 last year – the earliest version available.

Local doctors were then asked to review the data, causing the patient count to soar to 9,400 by May 15 – an increase of 121 per cent.

A group of MPs said the Government’s lack of planning created a postcode lottery with areas across England reporting unacceptable variations in the number of people shielding.

The Government originally asked those considered to be the most vulnerable to Covid-19 to isolate at home in March last year.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the “unacceptable” level of variation for vulnerable people shielding was evidence of a postcode lottery, as the list grew from 1.3million to 2.2million nationally.

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said this was caused by “poor data” and a lack of “joined-up policy systems”.

She said: “The shielding response in the Covid pandemic has particularly exposed the high human cost of the lack of planning for shielding in pandemic-planning scenarios.

“People were instructed to isolate, to protect themselves and others – but the cost of this protection was reduced access to living essentials like food, and an untold toll on mental health and wellbeing.”

It comes as Thurrock Council figures show the number of positive cases in the borough keeps dropping.

According to the council, as of April 15 there had been 20 positive tests, with 4,572 carried out.

The infection rate was 12 positive tests per 100,000 people in the borough.

There have also been another two Covid deaths in mid and south Essex hospitals in the past week.

It means there have now been 2,381 fatalities at Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals since the pandemic began.

However, it means there has been another fall in weekly Covid deaths at the hospitals, which stood at five as of last Monday.