Shielding advice to stop in England on 1 August

Health / Mon 22nd Jun 2020 at 05:17pm

THE 2.2 million people who have been self-isolating in England during the pandemic will no longer need to shield from 1 August.

From 6 July, they will be able to meet up outdoors, in a group, with up to five others and form ‘support bubbles’ with other households reports there BBC.

The measures can be eased because infection rates are falling, the government says.

Support packages will remain until the end of July to help people transition.

What changes from 6 July?

Those who are shielding and live alone in England – including single parents who are shielding – will be able to create a support bubble with one other household of any size.

This follows the ‘social bubble’ rules which were introduced earlier this month for anyone living alone and single-parent households.

People shielding will also be able to meet in groups of up to six outdoors while maintaining social distancing rules.

What is changing from 1 August?

Extremely vulnerable people who are most at risk from becoming ill from coronavirus will no longer need to shield in England.

That means they can return to work, if they can’t work from home, as long as their workplace is COVID secure.

However, they should still follow social distancing guidelines when outside their homes and wash their hands regularly to reduce the risk of being infected.

The changes mean those shielding will no longer be eligible for statutory sick pay – unless they develop coronavirus symptoms, or someone they know develops symptoms, and they are told to self-isolate and cannot work from home.

Free essential food boxes will stop being delivered, but support from NHS volunteers and local councils is still possible.

They will still qualify for priority slots for online shopping and will be offered help with medicine deliveries and getting to medical appointments.

Why is the advice changing?

The UK government says the advice can be relaxed because the chances of encountering the virus in the community continue to fall – one in 1,700 people are estimated to have the virus now, down from 1 in 500 four weeks ago.

The government says it has worked with clinicians, GPs, charities, the voluntary sector and patient groups on the changes.

But some charities are criticising the relaxing of the advice, saying many of the people they support do not feel it is safe to stop shielding.

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