People shielding ‘should continue to do so until 30 June’

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People living on the Fylde Coast who were asked to shield at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been asked to continue doing so until 30 June.

The Government has this week relaxed some of the measures to allow those who had been shielding to leave the house once a day and, if they live alone, to see one person from outside their household. Social distancing must be maintained at all times.

While the initial request was for the most vulnerable people in society to stay at home and cease contact with anyone they don’t live with for 12 weeks, the Government recently extended this for everyone until the end of June.

And despite the slight relaxing of the shielding requirements, people living in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre who are the most vulnerable to the virus have been urged to remain vigilant and to keep their distance from other people.

Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, a Blackpool GP and clinical director for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “Some people may have missed the updated Government guidance but it does state that shielding should remain in place for the most clinically vulnerable people until the end of June.

“We appreciate this hasn’t been easy for a lot of people and hopefully the slight relaxing of the measures will help people to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, albeit from a distance. It is really important that we all follow the guidance to keep as many people as safe as we possibly can.

“The North West and Blackpool in particular has been hit quite significantly by COVID-19 and so it is imperative we continue to maintain social distancing as much as possible.”

Those people who should be shielding were notified in writing and via text messages by the NHS in March and April. The guidance, which is being regularly monitored and updated, currently states: “If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you’re strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum (for instance once per day).

“If you wish to spend time outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping two metres apart.

“If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time).

“You should stay alert when leaving home: washing your hands regularly, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.

“You should strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your sense of taste or smell).

“The Government is currently advising people to shield until 30 June 2020 and is regularly monitoring this position.”

For the Government guidance in full, click here.