Covid-19: Shielding coming to an end for millionson March 31, 2021 at 3:15 am

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Today is the last day millions of the most clinically vulnerable people in England and Wales are told to shield.

Woman wearing face mask looking out of window

image copyrightGetty Images

Wednesday marks the last day that about four million of the most clinically vulnerable people in England and Wales are advised to shield at home.

Letters have been sent out to the group in the last few weeks.

They are still being advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people.

The change comes amid falling Covid cases and hospital admissions.

According to NHS Digital, there are 3.8 million shielded patients in England and 130,000 in Wales.

Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to lift their restrictions later in April.

People identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable were advised to take extra care to avoid contracting Covid-19 because they are considered more at risk of needing hospital treatment.

They include people who have had stem cell transplants or are having chemotherapy treatment for cancer, and adults with chronic kidney disease.

In February, another 1.7 million people in England were added to the list, based on the clinical judgement of their GP or hospital doctor.

Anyone shielding has been entitled to priority access to a Covid vaccination before the general population.

People affected by shielding included Rob Smith, from Hull, who has muscular dystrophy.

Shielding for more than a year has been a “nightmare”, he told BBC Breakfast.

“Where I was able to go out, I didn’t feel I wanted to. I didn’t feel confident to face people again,” he said.

“I’ve always been sociable…. It’s had a massive impact.”

Rob Smith

Mr Smith now says he feels anxious about the future and believes for many people who have been shielding, it will “take time to get used to being out there again”.

He is also wary of the risk of mixing with others again.

“I have had the first jab – knowing I’m going to be out there mixing potentially with people who could be carrying the virus – it is still an anxious time,” he said.

For Katherine Taylor in Essex, who has a rare neurological disorder and hyper-mobility, the last year has been a “real mixture of emotions”.

Her employer, a local college, has “been really brilliant and supportive” and allowed her to do her job as an event planner from home. She will continue to work from home in the next few months.

But she said: “The isolation of not actually being able to see and do the things you’d normally do has been really, really difficult – particularly not being able to see my parents.”

Katherine Taylor

It has also been hard for Mrs Taylor not to attend in-person physiotherapy sessions and to have hospital appointments put off.

She said it would be a “relief to get back to some sort of normal again” – go shopping with her daughter and eventually take a holiday break with her family in the camper van her husband has been fixing-up over lockdown.

“I’m feeling really good now about the future,” she said, adding she was excited to “see friends, spend more time with my family, so many things”.

“Just such simple things we took for granted.”

Banner image reading 'more about coronavirus'
Banner

Tuesday’s daily coronavirus figures showed deaths and hospital admissions continuing to fall.

There were 56 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test and 289 patients admitted to hospital, with the seven-day averages for each down by 35% and 22.1% respectively.

A further 4,040 cases were recorded, with the seven-day average down by 7.9%.

On Monday, restrictions in England were eased, allowing groups to meet outdoors.

Outdoor sport facilities, including swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courses, have reopened, while weddings are also on again.

Speaking on Monday at a Downing Street briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson it was not clear “exactly how strong” the UK’s defences would be against another wave of Covid, despite the “impressive” vaccine rollout.

But he also said he could not “see anything in the data right now that would cause us to deviate from the road map” of easing further restrictions.

From 12 April, shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality will reopen in England, if strict conditions are met.

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - Blue
Footer - Blue
- Advertisement -

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

Mayor of city famed for defunding police says abolishing police is not the solution

In the latest signal of reform to come from Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd, the city’s police chief announced Wednesday that he...

Microsoft Teams lands big deal with Coca-Cola

Score a big customer win for Microsoft Corp.'s MSFT, -0.28% Teams. The online-collaboration tool, locked in a fierce feud with Slack Technologies Inc. WORK, +4.79% for enterprise users, early Monday...

What Makes a Mesothelioma Lawyer Needed?

A Mesothelioma attorney is the person who will represent you in court should you decide to file a lawsuit against a company or person...

Back to school with a little bear and his hearing aidson March 2, 2021 at 12:02 am

How a picture book about a little bear who discovers he is deaf tells a personal story for its creators.Award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus found...

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma TreatmentMesothelioma is a form of cancer that is rare, usually occurring in the mesothelium or the membrane covering the organs and tissues...