Last reviewed 2 June 2020

New Government guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19 has been issued, advising that they can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.

The Government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding, taking into account that Covid-19 disease levels are substantially lower now than when shielding was first introduced.

The guidance says that people who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If they choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of their own household. However, if they live alone, they can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. The Government said, ideally, this should be the same person each time.

If people who are clinically extremely vulnerable do go out, they should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping two metres apart.

The Government's initial intention had been for people deemed clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 to continue taking the most stringent measures by not leaving their homes at all until at least 30 June.

British Medical Association (BMA) GP Committee Chair Dr Richard Vautrey said GP practices had not received further clarification at the time of the announcement and said that, to be able to give appropriate advice to patients, GPs need to be kept up-to-date with Government guidance. He added that Covid-19 is potentially very dangerous for those with underlying health conditions and it is only right that their family doctors are properly prepared for any changes to guidance around their care.

The new guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19