Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. Shielding measures are outlined on the UK Government website: Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. There is also a useful description on the BBC website: Coronavirus: What is shielding?
The advice given in the latest (2nd April) NHS letter to extremely vulnerable persons is as follows:-
You, or the person you care for, should:
- strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature (above 37.8 °C) and/or a new and continuous cough
- not leave your home
- not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces e.g. family homes, weddings and religious services
- not go out for shopping, leisure or travel. When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
- keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
- use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
- regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Ask carers or support workers who visit your home to do the same.
The rest of your household should support you to stay safe and stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home. In your home, you should:
- minimise the time you spend with others in shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom and sitting areas) and keep shared spaces well ventilated
- aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from others and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible
- use separate towels and, if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, or clean the bathroom after every use
- avoid using the kitchen when others are present, take your meals back to your room to eat where possible, and ensure all kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly.
If the rest of your household are able to follow this guidance, there is no need for them to take the full protective measures to keep you safe.
Washing hands and keeping the home clean are vital aspects of shielding measures. Here are two useful sources of information:-