Overview of ‘shielding’
Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically at high risk from the coronavirus, by supporting them to self-isolate to minimise all interaction with others.
Those identified should:
- not leave their homes
- minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household
This is to protect those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) from coming into contact with the virus.
Shielding is for your personal protection. While it is your choice to decide whether to follow these measures, the Chief Medical Officer strongly urges you to do so. This is the same approach agreed across the four UK nations.
Some specific groups of people are considered to be at the highest risk of severe illness if they become infected with coronavirus. People they live with, and other people they see, should strictly follow social distancing measures in order to protect them.
People with lung cancer or mesothelioma:
People with asbestosis (asbestosis is a form of interstitial lung disease)
Contact your local authority if you need support with shielding.
You should follow the most up to date guidance on social distancing, which will protect you and others from picking up the virus.
Adults who are eligible for an annual flu vaccine for medical reasons, will not all be proactively contacted but are asked to take additional steps to reduce their social interactions by following social distancing measures in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
Regardless of whether you are the person at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 you can help protect people who are at risk by staying at home.
This service is in addition to local support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield. If you are in the shielding category and are not yet receiving assistance, you can access support via this helpline: 0800 111 4000.
The helpline has been set up to provide essential assistance to those who do not have a network of support, but who may be at increased risk if they contract coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is for anyone who:
- cannot get online
- is over 70
- is disabled
- requires the support of mental health services
- is pregnant
- receives a flu jab for health reasons
The service offers help to people in these categories who do not have family or existing community support.
The helpline – 0800 111 4000 – will operate during core working hours of Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, while plans are developed to extend it to operate for a longer period each day.
Callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:
- essential food and medication
- links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
- emotional support
- contact with local volunteer groups
Last updated: 30 April 2020