If you’re at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19), you were advised to take extra steps to protect yourself until 1 August 2020. This was called shielding.
In England, the risk of getting coronavirus is now low enough that you’re no longer advised to shield.
But there are still things you can do to protect yourself and others. You can also still get some support.
Find out more on the NHS website.
Help and support
You’re no longer able to get free food parcels, but you can get help with food and medicine deliveries from an NHS volunteer.
Call 0808 196 3646 (open 8am to 8pm) to get help from NHS Volunteer Responders.
You can also continue to get priority supermarket delivery slots.
Mental health support
It is normal during these uncertain and unusual times to feel anxious or feel low.
Follow the advice that works for you in the guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you feel you need to talk to someone about your mental health or you are looking for more support for someone else, we would urge you to speak to a GP and seek out mental health support delivered by charities or the NHS.
Work and school
Children who were shielding can go back to school when their school reopens.
If you were shielding, work from home if possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
If you cannot work from home and are concerned about having to go to work, talk to your employer. Employers should make sure suitable arrangements are in place so you can go to work.
Shielding: Children (0-18)
The majority of children who have been previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ no longer need to shield.
Children will only be removed from the shielded patient list by their GP or specialist doctor following consultation with the child and their family. Specialists and GPs will be asked to contact children and their families to discuss this over the summer. Families do not need to take any immediate action. We expect these consultations to happen over the summer.
Children who are removed will not be advised to shield again if government guidance on shielding is changed in the future.
Why is this changing?
The original shielded patients list was intended to identify people with conditions that put them at highest clinical risk from Covid-19, based on the evidence available at the time. It was developed early in the outbreak when there was less evidence and data on the groups most at risk from Covid-19.
Specialists in the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) have looked at the most recent evidence specific to children and developed specific guidance. The Chief Medical Officer and senior clinicians have reviewed the guidance and are confident in their findings and advice.
The latest evidence shows that risks to children are low and only those with a certain medical conditions are likely to be advised to shield if shielding needs to be reintroduced in the future.
Can my child return to school/nursery?
Children will be able to return to school or nursey in line with their peers and school terms.
- Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) guidance: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-shielding-guidance-children-young-people#introduction
- Shielding guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
- Education guidance: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare
- Mental health and wellbeing advice: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/