Overview of 'shielding'
Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically at high risk from the coronavirus, by supporting them to self-isolate to minimise all interaction with others.
Those identified should:
- minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household
This is to protect those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) from coming into contact with the virus.
Shielding is for your personal protection. While it is your choice to decide whether to follow these measures, the Chief Medical Officer strongly urges you to do so. This is the same approach agreed across the four UK nations.
Contact your local authority if you need support with shielding.
If you have not been sent a letter from the Chief Medical Officer asking you to shield then you do not need to do so, but you should continue to follow social distancing advice.
You should follow the most up to date guidance on social distancing, which will protect you and others from picking up the virus.
Adults who are eligible for an annual flu vaccine for medical reasons, will not all be proactively contacted but are asked to take additional steps to reduce their social interactions by following social distancing measures in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
A helpline has been set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support, or who are at increased risk if they contract Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is for anyone who cannot get online, is over 70, is disabled, requires the support of mental health services, is pregnant and who receives a flu jab for health reasons. This service is in addition to localised support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield themselves. However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance, who do not have a network of support and cannot get online can access support via this new helpline.
The helpline – 0800 111 4000 – will operate during core working hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:
- essential food and medication
- links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
- contact with local volunteer groups
Regardless of whether you are the person at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 you can help protect people who are at risk by staying at home.