Clinically extremely vulnerable people in England will receive new guidance to help them reduce their risk from coronavirus, tailored to where they live the government has announced.
The guidance will be tied into the new Local Covid Alert Levels framework, meaning those at the highest risk of serious illness from the virus will receive specific advice depending on the level of risk in their local area, as coronavirus rates continue to rise.
With many national measures now in place that apply to everyone – for example, the rule of six and mandatory face coverings – the clinically extremely vulnerable group is already helped by wider protection measures not previously in place when shielding was originally introduced in March.
These additional precautions set out today, recommended by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) for England, will ensure an extra layer of protection specifically adapted to people’s locations and level of risk, as dictated by the Local Covid Alert Levels.
Deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the prevalence of the virus across the country and we know those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are looking for practical advice on how they can carry on their lives while the virus remains in our communities.
“The new system will provide clarity on how best those in this group can keep themselves as safe as possible depending on the rates of transmission in their local area. Whilst advisory, I would urge all those affected to follow the guidance wherever they can and to continue to access health services for their medical conditions.”
Adding: “We will continue to monitor the evidence closely and fine-tune this approach to make sure everyone in this group is clear about the safest way to go about their daily lives, particularly over the coming winter months.”
Those in exceptionally high-risk areas may still be advised to adopt formal shielding in the future, including to stay at home, not go to work or school and limit social interactions to their own household and support bubble.
Those in these areas will also be updated if the decision is not to follow shielding advice. If shielding advice is reintroduced in their area, they will also be eligible for a support package – including food access support, medicines deliveries and any additional care or support required.
They may also be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance.