As of 1st August the requirement for people in certain groups to ‘shield’ has been lifted.
In March anyone who was identified as being extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 was asked to stay at home for at least 12 weeks and stop face to face contact. This applied to a range of people including those with severe respiratory conditions, certain cancers and solid organ transplant recipients.
Last month, some restrictions were lifted, including the need to socially distance from people in your household, with people allowed to form support bubbles.
What has changed today?
The government are no longer advising people to shield, which means you no longer have to stay at home, and can go outside to shops, places of worship or to exercise.
People can go to work if their workplace is COVID secure, but should carry on working at home if possible. Employers are being asked by the government to help people transition back to a normal way of life.
Because people in these groups may still be at risk of serious illness, they are advised to stick to the social distancing guidance and limit contact with people outside of their household or support bubble.
Unless you have been told by your doctor that you’re no longer clinically vulnerable, you should still follow the guidance set out here.
Looking after body and mind
You should continue to use NHS services as you need them, although some may be operating differently in different parts of the NHS.
For example, here at Jesmond Health Partnership, we’ve brought in a new online consultation system called Salvie to offer quick responses, and appointments if necessary.
There is also mental health support available to help with anxiety or low mood, perfectly normal feelings during these uncertain times.
If you want to talk to someone about your mental health, do please contact us using Salvie. The NHS and various mental health charities also offer support.
As the government’s shielding advise has ended, so too has the support from the National Shielding Service, which included free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care.
If you or someone you know still needs the food you buy, prescriptions or other essential supplies delivering, then please get in touch with the NHS Volunteer Responders at this link or by calling them on 0808 196 3646.
A new ‘Check-in and Chat’ service has been developed by the Volunteer Responders Services to provide companionship and support people who have been shielding in taking steps back to normality.