Monday 22nd June 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced a phased relaxation to shielding guidance in England. From 6 July, people who have been shielding in England can:

  • Meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing; 
  • In line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) they can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, allowing them to spend time together inside each other's homes, including overnight
From 1 August, the advice to ‘shield’ will be paused, allowing people to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures, whilst minimising contact with others outside your household or support bubble. They can also:
  • Go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but you should maintain strict social distancing
  • Go to work, if you cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID-safe

In response to the announced changes in shielding guidance in England, Dr Louise Soanes, Director of Services for Teenage Cancer Trust, said:

“This will be a huge relief for so many vulnerable young people with cancer who have been shielding under the shadow of coronavirus for months. Shielding has had a huge impact, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Being able to go outside more freely and meet friends and loved ones will be welcomed.

“It is always important however to maintain social distancing at all times. Anyone with concerns or questions should contact their GP or cancer team.
“Young people with cancer have been managing a great deal of anxiety and confusion around how to apply shielding guidance. Clear guidance about how they can balance protecting themselves, while trying to retain some sense of normality, has been much needed. We’re pleased that advance notice has been given of these changes to enable Teenage Cancer Trust to help communicate them effectively.
 
“We have concerns for the toll that shielding will have on young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health longer term; a recent survey from Teenage Cancer Trust revealed that many have found it harder to access psychological support during the pandemic. Specialist support, tailored to their needs, is vital.”