Shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable people

We are currently undergoing our third national lockdown, which means there is updated government guidance on protecting those who are extremely vulnerable and more at risk from coronavirus.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)

  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):

    • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis

    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

    • chronic kidney disease

    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis

    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy

    • diabetes

    • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)

    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)

  • pregnant

Socialising and leaving the home

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you: 

  • are required to stay at home as much as possible, except for specific purposes

  • should avoid busy places and maintain strict social distancing rules, such as staying 2 metres apart even from people within your household, especially if they are displaying symptoms of the virus 

  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

  • you can continue to meet with people within your support bubble

  • you can still go outside for exercise and for medical appointments

Going to work

  • you are advised to work from home if you can, if you cannot work from home you must not go to work
  • you may want to speak to your employer about alternative working arrangements, such as a new role or change in work patterns
  • if you need support working from home, you can apply for the Access to Work 

Clinically Extremely vulnerable (formerly shielding)

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions.

Over the period November 5th to December 2nd, Government are advising people who are extremely clinically vulnerable to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). 

You are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise. Avoid busy places and maintain strict social distancing.

For further information on education, going to work, traveling, and more, please read the latest government guidance.

Accessing care and support

  • You can still receive informal care at home from people within your support bubble.
  • You can still receive care at home from professional social care and medical professionals.
  • We urge you to continue using the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns.
  • You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation. To find out more visit Health at home or download the NHS App
  • If you do need to receive care in person, you can. Your local NHS services are well prepared and will put in measures to keep you safe.
  • If you need additional help to follow this guidance, your local council may be able to help. If you are advised to shield you will be able to register for additional support

Looking for further information about coronavirus?

We have brought together the latest information about coronavirus including how you can get involved and help your community, and how to help your wellbeing during these uncertain times. 

Find out more