Millions will get shielding letter telling them to ‘stay at home at all times’ in second Covid lockdown

3 weeks ago 1

MILLIONS of vulnerable people are set to receive shielding letters telling them to "stay at home at all times" during the second nationwide Covid lockdown.

Those in the clinical extremely vulnerable category have been told to stay away from supermarkets but can go out for exercise and doctors appointments.

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New guidance for those in the clinically extremely vulnerable category has been released by the government

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New guidance for those in the clinically extremely vulnerable category has been released by the governmentCredit: Getty - Contributor

People who are shielding are more at risk of death, or developing serious complications from the coronavirus.

In order to cope with new lockdown measures, and a rise in cases of the coronavirus, the NHS yesterday announced that it would be entering into a level 4 alert.

By keeping the most vulnerable away from risking infection, it is thought that less people who already have underlying health conditions will contract the virus and need to use NHS services.

During the last national lockdown people in this group, which includes people with specific cancers or asthma were told to "stay at home at all times".

But crucially, this time, the "clinically extremely vulnerable" group are being encouraged to get outside to exercise regularly and are reminded to make sure they keep all medical appointments.

Patients in this group will have previously received a letter from their GP or local hospital advising them that they should shield.

People are set to receive their new letters in the coming days which will state the dos and don't of the new shielding guidance and will also state that you should not work outside your home for the time period stated in the letter.

Some may have already received a letter with the new updated guidance.

That time period will be from today, November 5, to December 2.

What is the new guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people?

The updated guidance, which clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly urged to follow, includes:

Socialising: stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors to exercise or attend health appointments. People can exercise with those they live with or in their support bubble. Work: If people cannot work from home, they should not attend work. They may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during this period of national measures. People in the same household who are not clinically extremely vulnerable can still attend work, in line with the new national restrictions School: as evidence has shown there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from Covid-19, most children originally on the shielded patient list no longer need to be and therefore can still attend school. If they are unsure, parents should contact their child’s usual GP or hospital clinician to check whether they should still be considered clinically extremely vulnerable. If a GP or clinician has advised that a child should remain on the shielded patient list, they are advised not to attend school. Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but aren’t themselves, should still attend school. Going outside: Avoid all non-essential travel – they should continue to travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by their doctor. They are strongly advised not to go to any shops or to pharmacies.

After this time a regional approach will apply, which means restrictions might be different depending on what local authority you are based in.

Like last time this group will again be able to get priority access to supermarket delivery slots, so they don't have to go out to get good.

They should also only work if they can do so from home and may be entitled to benefits during the four-week national lockdown.

The guidance adds that they "may" be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The new advice also states that children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.

Additional assistance

Government guidance states that if you need additional assistance while shielding then your local council could be able to help.

Those who are new to the shielding list can register with the new online service, where they will be able to request additional support.

Those on the shielding list have bee advised to not go to supermarkets or the pharmacy and the online service will help you to get access to priority supermarket deliveries, as well as putting you in touch with someone who can advise you on the local services in your area.

If you haven't received a letter and you think you should be added to the list then you should discuss this with your GP or your specialist.

There is also a separate group classed as clinically vulnerable, which now includes everyone aged 60 and over regardless of any underlying conditions.

It means almost 5.9 million extra people are considered to be at a higher risk of Covid-19 than in the first lockdown.

Who should shield?

You are automatically deemed "extremely clinically vulnerable

solid organ transplant recipients those with specific cancers: people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs those with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) those with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease) those on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection adults with Down’s syndrome adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5) women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions

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Pregnant women and obese people should also be "especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others," the guidance states.

It also includes younger people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and asthma.

Everyone else is expected to follow the new restrictions.

This includes staying at home unless shopping for essential items or exercising and not meeting up with people outside of the household.

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