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Statement by Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Chris Jones on Coronavirus: shielding

Written by on 22nd June 2020

Statement from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales.

I am making this statement today to confirm there are no changes to our advice to the group of people who are shielding in Wales.

We are asking this group of people to continue following the shielding advice set out in the Chief Medical Officer for Wales’ most recent letter sent out at the beginning of June, until August 16.

We know shielding is not easy, but we are continuing to advise this group of people to take these measures because, although coronavirus is declining in Wales, it has not gone away and these shielding measures will continue to protect this group of people.

We know that the UK Government is making changes to the advice it will be issuing to people who are shielding in England from July.

But our advice to people who are shielding in Wales remains the same as set out in the letters sent by the Chief Medical Officer earlier this month.

The June letters to the shielded group in Wales included two important changes:

  1. The first change related to exercise. Outdoor exercise is unlimited – but we are advising people who are shielding to strictly follow social distancing and hygiene practices. Risk can never be completely eliminated but we advise those shielding to exercise at times that are less busy so contact with others is reduced.
  2. The second change related to the ability to meet others. Those who are shielding were advised they can meet with people from another household in their local area outdoors. However, they should not go into another person’s house or share food with them.

All the other shielding advice – such as working from home; not sharing meals or utensils at home; sleeping in a separate bed; not sharing towels and cleaning the bathroom after use – remain in place for your protection.

This is advice only – shielding is not compulsory. These measures and advice are there to help protect you from contracting coronavirus and protect you from developing a potentially serious illness.

I would encourage everyone who is shielding to take advantage of opportunities to go outside and enjoy some of the good weather as this has significant benefits to health and well-being.

I would like to reassure those who are shielding that we have not forgotten about them. We keep the shielding advice under constant review as we know how hard shielding is.

As we learn more about coronavirus, we may be able to change the advice to make it more responsive to people’s individual risk. We will work with the other UK nations to develop a tool to give a more personalised risk assessment and help guide people about the steps they should take.

Until this has been developed, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will review the advice for those who are shielding on the same 21-day cycle as the review of the lockdown regulations.

I want to thank everyone who is shielding for their help and patience. I also want to thank all those who continue to work so hard to help support everyone who is shielding – our local authorities, community pharmacies, volunteers and food retailers which are making a huge contribution to supporting our shielding group.