Shielding programme for the 2million Britons most at risk from coronavirus will stop at end of July

Shielding programme for the 2million Britons most at risk from coronavirus will stop at end of July

  • Two million clinically vulnerable people were told to shield in a strict lockdown
  • But from the end of July they will be able to unrestrictedly leave their homes
  • A government announcement is expected soon with letters sent out next week  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Vulnerable people, who were told not to leave their homes as part of the government’s shielding programme, will be able to go out after the end of July. 

As the UK’s infection rates continue to fall vulnerable people who were told to shield will be allowed to freely leave their houses for the first time since lockdown started in March. 

This also means that food packages and medicine deliveries for these people will end but priority online food shopping is expected to stay in place. 

Two million vulnerable people were sent letters by the government telling them to ‘shield’ and stay at home. From the end of July they will be able to freely leave their homes for the first time. Pictured: Stock photo of a woman reading a letter

The government will keep the list of people they advised to shield in case a second wave hits the UK and the vulnerable have to isolate again, reported the Health Service Journal. 

The government shielded people with severe respiratory disease, organ transplants and certain types of cancer. 

Elderly people, who were also considered vulnerable, were allowed to see their families and grandchildren for the first time last week. 

The Communications Secretary said single elderly people could spend time with one other household leaving many of them to choose which grandchildren they would include in their bubbles.

Clinically vulnerable people who were part of the government’s shielding programme were not allowed to leave their home or garden, including for exercise, shopping or to go to work.

On June 1 this was changed allowing shielded people to leave their houses once a day for exercise.   

The majority of people (62.2 per cent) adhered strictly to these rules but 38 per cent (836,000 people) said they did not follow the rules completely, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

The same survey showed that 35 per cent (785,000) of people said the strict lockdown impacted their mental health badly. 

At the end of May the government removed some cancer, asthma and organ transplant patients off the ‘clinically vulnerable’ list when it was revealed they had mistakingly included people who did not need to be on the list. 

Around five per cent of those who were originally part of the shielding scheme did not need to be. 

The initial list was put together in mid-March just before the country went into lockdown but 107,000 patients were removed from the list after it was validated by GPs.  

Likewise with vulnerable people coming out of lockdown at the end of July, people removed from the list no longer received food deliveries but they were able to keep their priority online shopping slots. 

Last week those who remained on the list were able to start seeing one other person from a different household outside while socially distancing but were told not to form support bubbles as the rest of the country has. 

Who is on the shielding list and what are the current rules for them: 

 According to NHS Inform, clinically vulnerable peopler are people who:

  • have had solid organ transplants
  • have cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy
  • have lung cancer and are either receiving or previously received radical radiotherapy
  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow
  • are receiving immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer 
  • are receiving other targeted cancer treatments, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors 
  • have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs 
  • have severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD 
  • have rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections 
  • are receiving immunosuppression therapies 

According to the NHS these people are not allowed to: 

  • have visitors inside their home unless they’re providing essential care
  • leave their house more than once a day
  • see more than one person from other households (this should be the same person each time) 
  • go anywhere indoors including the shops     

They are allowed to:  

  • go for a walk outside
  • meet up with one person from another household outside while socially distancing (this should be the same person each time)