What has changed
The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding taking into account that COVID-19 disease levels have decreased over the last few weeks.
People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time. If you do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart. This guidance will be kept under regular review.
Staying at home and shielding
People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to take additional action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with the virus. If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you’re strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum (for instance once per day).
This is called ‘shielding’ and the advice is now updated:
- If you wish to spend time outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.
- If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time).
- You should stay alert when leaving home: washing your hands regularly, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size.
- You should not attend any gatherings, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.
- You should strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your sense of taste or smell).
The Government is currently advising people to shield until 30 June 2020 and is regularly monitoring this position.
Children (0-18) and shielding – 6 July update
The majority of children who have been previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will no longer need to shield.
Does my child need to continue shielding?
Children should continue to shield until 31 July. From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will be paused so clinically vulnerable people of all ages will no longer need to be advised to shield.
Children will only be removed from the shielded patient list by their GP or specialist doctor following consultation with the child and their family. Specialists and GPs will be asked to contact children and their families to discuss this over the summer. Families do not need to take any immediate action. We expect these consultations to happen over the summer.
Children who are removed will not be advised to shield again if government guidance on shielding is changed in the future.
If your child is transitioning to adult services before 31 July, you should have a discussion with their current and future specialist to determine whether your child should continue shielding.
GPs and specialist clinicians have been informed of the changing guidance.
Why is this changing?
The original shielded patients list was intended to identify people with conditions that put them at highest clinical risk from Covid-19, based on the evidence available at the time. It was developed early in the outbreak when there was less evidence and data on the groups most at risk from Covid-19.
Specialists in the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) have looked at the most recent evidence specific to children and developed specific guidance. The Chief Medical Officer and senior clinicians have reviewed the guidance and are confident in their findings and advice.
The latest evidence shows that risks to children are low and only those with a certain medical conditions are likely to be advised to shield if shielding needs to be reintroduced in the future.
Can my child return to school/nursery?
Children should continue to shield until 31 July. From 1 August, following the pausing of guidance, children will be able to return to school or nursey in line with their peers and school terms.
Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) guidance: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-shielding-guidance-children-young-people#introduction
Education guidance: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare
Mental health and wellbeing advice: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
Register for support
Everyone who has received a letter advising that they are clinically extremely vulnerable should register online if you need any extra support, for example, having essential groceries delivered to your home.
Register even if:
- you do not need support now
- you’ve received your letter from the NHS
Register for support:
- register online
- call 0800 028 8327
Have your NHS number with you when you register. This will be at the top of the letter you have received letting you know you are clinically extremely vulnerable or on any prescriptions.
Single Point of Contact at the Surgery
If you are shielding and have any concerns or worries you can contact us by telephone and ask to speak to our secretarial team as a first point of contact.