Additional information for certain groups (click to expand)
If you are pregnant
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has produced some specific advice for pregnant women. Click here for more information.
If you are classed as 'most at risk'
Some people are considered to be even more at risk from coronavirus, they are sometimes refered to as “shielded” or “extremely vulnerable” people.
This includes people who:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
If you have been identified as a Shielded Patient you should avoid face-to-face contact with others, except for carers and healthcare workers where contact is necessary as part of your care.
The people on the Shielded Patient List are at the highest clinical risk of severe illness were they to contract COVID-19, hence these stringent and restrictive guidelines, which are designed to protect people by stopping them from coming into contact with the virus.
While most people on the list were identified using central records, a significant number were identified by GPs and hospital clinicians reviewing their patient lists.
Each of these patients should have received a letter from the NHS advising them to follow shielding guidance. It is important to note that the Shielded Patient List will change over time with the addition of people who are newly diagnosed or who are prescribed new medications which means they now fall into this ‘highest clinical risk’ group. As new patients are identified, they will receive a letter confirming their status on the list, as well as information signposting them to the support on offer, as described above.
What you should do if you are ‘most at risk’
People most at risk from coronavirus need to shield themselves from getting coronavirus. This means you need to take extra steps to avoid getting it.
- stay at home at all times – do not leave your home to buy food, collect medicine or exercise
- stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in your home as much as possible
- get food and medicine delivered and left outside your door – ask friends and family to help or register to get coronavirus support on GOV.UK if you need it
- prepare a hospital bag, including a list of the medicines you’re taking – in case you need to go into hospital
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- make sure anyone who comes into your home washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products
- clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched
- do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family, unless they’re providing essential care
- do not stop taking any prescription medicines without speaking to your doctor
Updates for shielded patients
The National Shielding Service is writing to some shielded patients following a review of requirements for those individuals. This means that people who receive a letter from their GP or hospital clinician telling them this is the case for them, are no longer required to shield.
As a result, those people will no longer receive support such as food boxes and medicines collections. However, anyone needing some extra help may be eligible for priority delivery slots at supermarkets as well as help through the NHS Responder volunteer scheme.
This includes collecting and delivering shopping, medicines, and other essential supplies – or if you just want someone to check in and have a chat with you.
NHS Responder can be contacted on 0808 1963646 between 8am and 8pm.