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New guidance for ‘shielding’ begins on Saturday

From Saturday 1 August, as part of the easing of lockdown measures, the guidance for those people who have been shielding will change.

If you, or someone you know, has been shielding since the beginning of lockdown, it is important to get familiar with the new guidelines – to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible.

Who has been advised to shield?

People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable were advised to take additional action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with COVID-19.

This has been called ‘shielding’.

Most people will have received a letter advising you to shield, but some were told directly by GPs or hospital clinicians.

What happens to shielding now?

From Saturday, full shielding measures are no longer necessary.

However, it is important to adhere to strict social distancing.

‘Strict’ social distancing means that you may go out to more places and see more people, but that you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble.

Read more on support bubbles.

This new guidance also means that:

  • you can go to work (if you cannot work from home), but only if the business is COVID-safe
  • children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings
  • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship, and for exercise, as long as you maintain strict social distancing and wear a face covering (where appropriate)

What if I still need support in getting food or medicine?

From Saturday, the support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop.

If you do still need help, NHS Volunteer Responders will continue to provide support.

For help with your shopping, you can choose what products you want and when you want them, and an NHS Volunteer Responder will then pick up and deliver your shopping to you. NHS Volunteer Responders can also pick up other essentials you need. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support.

If you don’t have someone who can pick up a prescription for you, the NHS Volunteer Responders can also help with this.

Online NHS pharmacies also offer free delivery of medicines.

We will continue to update you on the latest government advice on COVID-19, but do check the website in the first instance for the most up-to-date information. The NHS website has detailed information on symptoms and what to do if you or someone in your household shows signs of COVID-19 symptoms.

29th July 2020