New guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding residents) was published by the government on 13 October. The revised guidance is designed to be less restrictive to that in place during the first wave and is aligned with the new three tier system announced on 12 October.
Shielding will only be considered in areas where the COVID alert level is ‘very high’ (Tier 3). The decision to re-introduce shielding will be based on advice from the government’s chief medical officer. If re-introduced, impacted residents will be written to by government and asked to shield for a limited time.
From 17 October, Ealing along with the rest of London moved into Tier 2 – ‘high alert level’
In London residents who were previously asked to shield, are not currently being advised to shield but should continue to practice good hand hygiene, wear a face covering, maintain strict social distancing and follow the government’s latest Tier 2 guidance:
- No household mixing indoors. You are only able to socialise indoors with people you live with or those in your support bubble. This applies to all indoor settings including homes, pubs and restaurants
- Stick with six outdoors. You can socialise outdoors with friends and family you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with, in groups of up to six people, including children of any age. You can meet in a garden or outdoor space
- Reduce your journeys. You should reduce the number of journeys you make, especially on public transport.
- Work from home where possible. You should work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home, you can still attend your workplace as it should be COVID-secure.
Since the introduction of shielding, many new measures have been introduced in our communities, including the rule of six, COVID-secure workplaces, and the widespread use of face coverings, all of which have reduced the need for such restrictive shielding advice.
Strict social distancing
Strict social distancing means going to fewer places and seeing fewer people and taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside the household or support bubble.
In practice this means:
- Socialising indoors only with people you live with or those in your support bubble including homes, pubs and restaurants
- You should try to reduce the number of journeys you make or go at quieter times of the day. Keep two metres apart from people and wear a face covering unless you are exempt. You may also consider buying your groceries online as supermarkets are continuing to provide priority delivery slots to vulnerable people
- Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing.