BRITS shielding from the coronavirus in Tier 4 areas will get extra support from the government, new official guidance states.
The clinically extremely vulnerable have been told to stay at home at all times – unless they need to attend a medical appointment.
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Those in this group are also allowed to go outside for exercise, and have been told to not attend work – even if they are unable to work from home.
People in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are the most at risk in society from dying or developing serious issues if they catch Covid-19.
People in this group include cancer patients, people with rare diseases and pregnant women with significant heart disease.
The updated guidance, which is the same as was in place during November applies to the clinically extremely vulnerable in London, the South East and East of England.
The Department of Health and Social Care said it would "ensure help is available for those who need it".
It said this would include access to food and medicines as well as advice on how and where to get help in your local area.
AM I IN A TIER 4 AREA?
Those who are in Tier 4 areas and are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will be sent a letter with shielding advice – here are the Tier 4 areas.
- all 32 boroughs
- Kent and Medway
- Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead and West Berkshire)
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- Hastings and Rother
- Havant, Gosport and Portsmouth
East of England:
- Essex (excluding Tendring, Uttlesford and Colchester)
- Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton
This, the department said, would include support or befriending services which will enable people to stay home as much as possible during the festive season.
NHS Volunteer Responders will also be on hand to help with regular friendly phone calls and transport to and from medical appointments.
Those who will be shielding will be sent a letter with all the relevant guidance.
STAY AT HOME
The letter will state that those shielding shouldn't socialist and should stay at home as much as possible.
As those in this group will be unable to go to work, the department said they may be entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during this period.
But people who live in the same household as someone shielding are advised that they can still attend work – in line with Tier 4 restrictions.
In Tier 4 areas all non-essential shops are closed. As well as hospitality venues gyms.
Definition of clinically extremely vulnerable groups
People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable are at very high risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
There are two ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:
- You have one or more of the conditions listed below
- Your hospital clinician or GP has added you to the shielded patients list because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at higher risk of serious illness if you catch the virus
Adults with the following conditions are automatically deemed clinically extremely vulnerable:
- solid organ transplant recipients
- those with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- 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 that 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
In terms of children who are in this group, if a GP has advised that a child is still a shielded patient then children should not attend school during term time.
Children who live with a parent or guardian who is in this group should still attend school.
In terms of travel, those who are shielding should still go to appointments unless advised not to do so by a doctor or healthcare practitioner.
They are also advised to not go to shops or pharmacies and to use the support in place so they can stay at home.
During the first national coronavirus lockdown in March millions of vulnerable Brits were told to stay inside.
As part of the second lockdown in November, restrictions on the vulnerable group were relaxed slightly – allowing the vulnerable to go outside for exercise.
These are the same restrictions for people who are in Tier 4 areas.
Many shielding Brits were given hope earlier this month as the coronavirus vaccine programme started in the UK.
The over 80s and care workers were first in line for the jab.
The priority list then runs in order of age, and takes into consideration those with underlying health issues.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam previously said: "The JCVI priority list phase one, which takes us down to people 50 years of age and over and under 50 if you're in an at-risk group, taken together it's not an accident that they take out – with a very effective vaccine and high uptake – 99 per cent of Covid-related mortality, deaths."
The Tier 4 restrictions were announced on Saturday and will be in place for at least two weeks.
These will be reviewed on December 30.
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