Shielding guidance: What to do if you’re living with someone who is shielding?

Elderly and vulnerable people in society have been urged to stay indoors, a protective measure known as shielding. The Government, along with NHS Digital, sent out letters to around 900,000 people deemed at-risk, tell them to shield themselves for a period of 12 weeks. But, GPs and hospitals are understood to be advising a further 600,000 people be added to the shielding list.

What to do if you are living with someone who is shielding?

If you live with vulnerable people who are shielding themselves, you do not need to comply but are still strongly advised to follow social distancing measures, and make sure shared spaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

This does, however, mean that no visitors should be coming to your house.

The only people that should be visiting are healthcare workers or individuals bringing vital groceries and medicines.

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Even then, they should leave the supply outside your front door to avoid any face-to-face contact.

You should avoid anybody who is showing symptoms, like a cough or temperature, no matter how mild.

If the space permits it, try to use separate bedrooms and bathrooms from your shielding loved ones when you can.

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What is shielding?

Shielding aims to make the most vulnerable ones of us, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, safe by avoiding all unnecessary contact.

Those asked to shield must stay home at all times, and not even leave the house for exercise or food shopping.

It is especially important to avoid contact with people showing symptoms of coronavirus.

According to the Government, a new Local Support System makes sure individuals shielding without the support of family and friends will still have access to groceries and medicine through a community support network.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “Public safety and making sure that the most at risk from the virus continue to get the support they need throughout this period is the Government’s top priority.

“People should stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock added: “We are working incredibly hard, day and night, to protect the nation’s public health whilst supporting our NHS so it can continue to look after patients in need of care.

“It is vital that we do everything we can to protect ourselves, our families and our friends from being impacted by the virus. But for those who are at the highest risk in our society, we have to do even more to ensure they’re kept safe.”

Who should be shielding?

Government advice states that everyone, no matter if they are shielding or not, should be taking part in social distancing measures.

People who should be taking added precautions by shielding include:

⁃ Solid organ transplant recipients
⁃ People with cancer undergoing chemotherapy
⁃ People undergoing radiotherapy due to lung cancer
⁃ Anyone with blood cancers – leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma – during any stage of treatment
⁃ People with severe respiratory conditions like Cystic Fibrosis or COPD
⁃ People on immunosuppression therapies that increase the risk of infection
⁃ Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

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