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Shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable to stop from April

  • Advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable to shield ceases from Thursday 1 April, as virus infection rates continue to fall.
  • People on shielded patient list will receive letters from today with updated guidance on steps they can take to reduce their risk.
  • More than 9 in 10 clinically extremely vulnerable people have been vaccinated with a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 3.79 million clinically extremely vulnerable people in England will be informed they are no longer advised to shield from Thursday 1 April 2021.

In line with the government’s ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ roadmap published last month, those on the shielded patient list can begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population but are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19.

Letters to patients with updated guidance will be arriving from today and over the next two weeks. These set out practical steps people can follow to reduce their risk of catching the virus, including continuing to maintain strict social distancing and to keep their overall social contacts at low levels, such as working from home where possible. If people are unable to do so, employers are required by law to take steps to make workplaces COVID-19 secure and should discuss this with their employees.

The move follows the steady decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations across the country for the last couple of weeks.

Local councils and supermarkets will continue to provide support for those shielding until 31 March. If people have already registered for priority access to supermarket delivery slots, they will continue to be able to access these until 21 June 2021.

In the future the government will only reintroduce formal shielding in the very worst affected areas and for a limited time. You will be contacted if this is the case in your area.

See the full press release here.

Further information

Shielding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

During this lockdown, formal shielding did not come into place but instead extra advice was provided for those on the shielding list e.g. not going to work where it is not possible to work from home. Nicola Sturgeon stated (18 March) people on the shielding list will be able to return to work and children/young people can return to school, nursery, college or university from 26 April. The Chief Medical Officer will write to everyone on the shielding list to provide further details.

Read more here –

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals in are being advised to shield until 31 March.
From 1 April, you will no longer need to shield, and should follow the same rules as the rest of the population in Wales including going to work (if you cannot work from home) as long as the business is Covid-secure and returning to school.

Read more here –

Northern Ireland:
People in the shielding group in Northern Ireland are being advised to take extra precautions including not going to work or school outside the home until further notice. This advice will be in place until 1 April and is due to be reviewed.

Read more here –


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