Coronavirus: What is shielding?

More than a million people most at risk of needing hospital treatment if they catch coronavirus are being asked to stay at home for at least 12 weeks. 

The strategy is called “shielding” and the aim is to protect lives.

Why do it?

Cases of coronavirus are increasing rapidly in the UK, which suggests it is circulating in the community and spreading from person to person. 

While everyone is being advised to keep their distance from other people to help stop the spread, some people with underlying health conditions need to take even more precautions to protect themselves.

Who should do it?

Those most at risk will receive letters or text messages from the NHS strongly advising them not to go out for 12 weeks. 

At risk people include: 

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • Some people with cancer who are undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • People on immunosuppression drugs
  • Women who are pregnant and have heart disease
  • People with severe respiratory conditions – cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and COPD
  • Some people with rare diseases such as severe combined immunodeficiency 

If you think you or a loved one are in this highest risk category and have not received a letter from the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020 or been contacted by your GP, get in touch with your GP or hospital doctor by phone or online.


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