The government has announced that those shielding from coronavirus will be advised they can spend more time outside their homes from Monday, July 6.
Soon clinically extremely vulnerable people will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to six people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules already in place for the wider population.
From Saturday, August 1, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield.
They will continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots if they have registered online before 17 July for a priority delivery slot.
NHS Volunteer Responders will also continue to offer support to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.
The food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service will stop as of August 1 as individuals are advised they can visit shops and pharmacies.
To register and access a priority delivery slot > https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
From August, those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace is coronavirus secure.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to follow strict social distancing measures, taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household and practise good, frequent handwashing.
The government will be writing to all individuals on the Shielded Patient List with updated information on shielding advice and the ongoing support that will be available to them.
The updated guidance for those classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable will be published on 6 July and 1 August as these measures come into force.
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The government is advising people to shield until 1 August 2020 and will ease its guidance again from 6 July 2020, so people can spend more time outdoors and form a support bubble.
“I understand that for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable the decision to do so won’t be one taken lightly.
“It’s impossible to say definitely that the situation is safe for people who have been shielding, while COVID-19 is still present in the UK there will always be a level of risk.
“But it is important that people take into account the latest information about the local situation in Cumbria when deciding what to do.
“Weekly figures are published by government which currently show low numbers of new infections in Cumbria, around 14-21, much lower than other parts of the north west.
“That is relevant information when people are trying to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
“I wish we could provide certainty, but at the moment we can only provide information to help people make the right decision for them. If people do go out it is very important to maintain social distancing and good hygiene practices, indeed this applies to the whole population.”