Lockdown restrictions are easing for people who have been shielding, but many are understandably concerned and anxious about leaving their homes while COVID-19 continues.
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The government is currently advising people to shield until 30 June 2020 and is regularly monitoring this position, but people are now permitted to leave the house for exercise and limited socialising.
“I understand that for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable the decision to do so won’t be one taken lightly.
“It’s impossible to say definitely that the situation is safe for people who have been shielding, while COVID-19 is still present in the UK there will always be a level of risk. But it is important that people take into account the latest information about the local situation in Cumbria when deciding what to do.
“Weekly figures are published by government which currently show low numbers of new infections in Cumbria, around 25-50, much lower than other parts of the north west. That is relevant information when people are trying to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
“I wish we could provide certainty, but at the moment we can only provide information to help people make the right decision for them. If people do go out it is very important to maintain social distancing and good hygiene practices, indeed this applies to the whole population.”
The latest advice from the government for people who have been shielding now says:
- If you wish to spend time outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.
- If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time).
- You should stay alert when leaving home: washing your hands regularly, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size.
- You should not attend any gatherings, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.
- You should strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your sense of taste or smell).
Cumbrian infection rate data can be found at gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports.
Find the latest government guidance on protecting clinically extremely vulnerable people (shielding) at gov.uk/coronavirus.