Extremely vulnerable Islanders who have been shielding over the past 10 weeks can safely start to spend time outdoors from tomorrow (Monday), it has been announced.
2.2million clinically extremely vulnerable people across the country will be able to go outside with members of their household, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, from tomorrow (1st June). Those who live alone will be able to meet outside with 1 other person from another household.
Those being shielded still remain at risk and are advised to only leave the house once a day. They should not go to work or the shops and should avoid crowded places where they can’t social distance.
The updated guidance provides a much-needed boost to those most at risk who have been staying inside their homes to protect themselves and the NHS. This includes many who have not had any face-to-face contact since they were first advised to shield.
The government’s unprecedented package of support for those shielding from coronavirus is also set to continue, including the delivery of food or medicines, phone calls and support from volunteers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said:
“I want to thank everyone who has followed the shielding guidance – it is because of your patience and sacrifice that thousands of lives have been saved.
“I do not underestimate just how difficult it has been for you, staying at home for the last 10 weeks, and I want to pay tribute to your resilience.
“I also want to recognise the hundreds of thousands of extraordinary volunteers who have supported you in shielding. Whether through delivering medicines and shopping, or simply by checking in on those isolating, they should feel deeply proud of the part they have played in this collective effort.
“We have been looking at how we can make life easier for our most vulnerable, so today I am happy to confirm that those who are shielding will be able to spend time outside with someone else, observing social distance guidelines.
“I will do what I can, in line with the scientific advice, to continue making life easier for you over the coming weeks and months.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP adds:
“Those shielding from coronavirus have made huge sacrifices over recent months to protect both themselves and the NHS – they deserve our thanks and our support for their efforts.
“Incidence rates of coronavirus are now significantly lower than before these measures were put in place. That’s why we are focused on finding the right balance between continuing to protect those at the greatest clinical risk, whilst easing restrictions on their daily lives to make the difficult situation more bearable – particularly enabling the contact with loved ones they and we all seek.
“We will now be providing regular updates to the shielded to guide them through the next phase and we hope, to better and less restrictive times. In the meantime we will continue to provide the support that the shielded in our communities need”.
The Communities Secretary is expected to set out a plan to review shielding guidance at regular points in the coming weeks, with the next review to take place later in June. This will be detailed in today’s Downing Street press conference.
The average chance of catching the virus is now down from 1/40 to 1/1000.
If a person meets the criteria to get support from the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, they can call 0808 196 3646 to be linked with a volunteer who can help them is a range of different ways. A carer or family member can also call the programme on their behalf.