From The Welsh Government, 26/08/2020:
Have you been shielding? Or maybe you know someone who has?
We know many of you may still feel anxious about shielding being paused. Help and advice is available so that you can return to your day-to-day lives, including 👇
🌳 Going out more
🚲 Doing exercise
🛒 Going shopping
💼 Going to work
✏️ Going to school
What has changed?
You no longer need to stay 2 metres or 3 steps away from people you live with or who are part of your extended household.
You can now go to work, if you cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID secure (has taken reasonable measures to minimise risk to employees);
Children who have been shielding can return to school when schools re-start.
You can now go out for any reason, including going to shops to buy food but you should stay 2 metres or 3 steps from other people.
Who does the Welsh Government class as Extremely Vulnerable?
Extremely vulnerable refers to people in Wales who have one of a very specific list of pre-existing and long-term serious health conditions.
Based on what we know so far the impact of their pre-existing, long-term health condition on their immune system puts them at high risk of serious illness if they are exposed to coronavirus.
People in this group include:
Solid organ transplant recipients
People with specific cancers:
People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
People with severe single organ disease (e.g. Liver, Cardio, Renal, Neurological).
People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
Pregnant women with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
Children up to the age of 18 with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
If you believe you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter, you should discuss your concerns with us at Castle Surgery or hospital doctor.
Things you should be doing to stay safe
Do keep 2 metres or three steps away from other people outside your home or extended household.
Do regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Do plan ahead. Think about the availability of places to rest when going for a walk, or toilet facilities when further away from home. Take hand sanitiser in case hand washing facilities are not available.
Do work from home if you can or return to your workplace if it is COVID secure (has taken reasonable measures to minimise risk to employees).
Do contact your local supermarket for priority online shopping if you do not feel ready to do your own food shopping yet. If you do go to a supermarket, choose quieter times of the day.
Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP, pharmacy or other day-to-day services.
Do contact your local council if you have no one who can help you. The number is at the end of their letter.
Work and employment
As shielding advice has been paused people who have been shielding will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on the basis of being advised to shield.
You should continue to work from home if possible, however you can return to work if your workplace is COVID Secure.
Your employer should help you to transition back to work safely and must take all reasonable measures to minimise exposure to coronavirus by ensuring a 2m distance is maintained between workers in your workplace (if you can’t work from home). The Welsh Government has already issued guidance to employers on taking measures to make the workplace safe.
Employers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.
It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability, race or ethnicity.
Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.
You can get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website or calling the Acas helpline, 0300 123 1100.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by your employer, or somebody who gives you a service, then the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) offers a free advice service which you can access by calling 0808 800 0082, by text phone on 0808 800 0084 or by visiting their website.
If you have concerns about your health and safety at work, you can raise them with any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsibility for enforcement in your workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority.
If you are self-employed support is available through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support for people who have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. Support can be provided where someone needs help or adaptations beyond reasonable adjustments. Call the Access to Work helpline on 0800 121 7479.
For information on financial assistance available to you please visit Understanding Universal Credit on GOV.UK.
Children and young people
In the same way as adults, children and young people no longer need to shield which means they can go back to school or college/university.
There is also strong evidence that suggests many children and young people do not need to shield at any time because, in general, children and young people have a much lower risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
There are around 5,000 children and young people on the Shielded Patients List in Wales.
The Welsh Government expect that the majority of children will be removed from this list. This means they would not be asked to shield again in the future. We expect that only those on certain treatments, such as for cancer care or those at risk of severe infection due to an immunodeficiency will stay on this shielding list and so may be advised to shield again in the future.
Your child’s paediatrician or GP will notify you whether your child should remain on the Shielding Patients List.
Hospital and GP appointments
Wherever possible, GP appointments will continue to be provided by phone, email or online. If you need to be seen in person, Caslte Surgery will contact you to let you know what you should do.
Your hospital or clinic will contact you if any changes need to be made to your care or treatment. Please phone your hospital or clinic if you have any questions about your appointment.
It is recommended that you should wear a face mask when you need to visit your GP surgery or hospital. If you do not have one, you can ask for one to be provided to you on arrival.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2020