There’s some good news today for the 2.2 million people, including many in Thirsk and Malton, who have been shielding and who have been self-isolating for three months in keeping with medical advice. Scientific evidence shows that the chances of encountering the virus in the community continues to decline so the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, has said that the time is right for you to regain a degree of normality in your daily lives. The shielded include people with severe respiratory disease, organ transplants and some types of cancer.
From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can go outside to exercise for as long as you like and gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors, including those outside of your household, while maintaining social distancing. If you have been self-isolating for medical reasons and live alone or are single parents with children you can form a ‘support bubble’ with another household.
From Saturday 1 August, this guidance will be further relaxed so clinically vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield and will be able to go to shops or return to work in a covid safe environment. It will be incumbent on the employer to ensure that the workplace is safe in accordance with the sector guidance and to support you as you get back to your working life.
However, support will still be available for those who need it from NHS volunteers and local councils. You will retain your priority for supermarket delivery slots, and still be able to access help with shopping, medication, phone calls and transport to medical appointments.
This has been a particularly challenging period for those of you who have had to stay at home for this extended period. You have been totally isolated from your family and friends and have not been able to get out and exercise as the rest of us have been able to do for three months. I admire your fortitude and would like to thank you for your sacrifice and your contribution to the national effort. It is important that we remember that even though we are now able to relax some further measures, thanks to the steady decline of the numbers contracting the virus and being hospitalised, we still have a long way to go. People must continue to follow social distancing guidance when outside your homes, as well as frequently washing your hands, to minimise the risk of becoming infected.
The Health Secretary is writing to everyone on the shielded list to explain how the new guidelines will affect you and what support is available to you.