Vulnerable people who have been shielding from coronavirus in England and Wales can venture outdoors from today.
Although general relaxations of lockdown across the UK do not extend to those who are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms, revised guidance has been issued that people who are shielding can now leave home if they wish, subject to maintaining strict social distancing.
The guidance states that if those shielding choose to spend time outdoors, they can do so with members of their household or, if they live alone, one member from another household at a two-metre distance.
In England, those shielding will be advised that they can go outside once a day. In Wales, outdoor exercise for people shielding will be unlimited.
The list of people who should be shielding includes solid organ transplant recipients, cancer patients, pregnant women with heart disease and people with severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.
The Government advised extremely vulnerable people to stay indoors for at least 12 weeks from March 29.
It defined the term, shielding, as: “Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.”
It elaborated: “You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter. Please note that this period of time could change.”