April 2021 update
From 31 March 2021 the shielding advice to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and live in England and Wales, will be paused. The official guidance means you are no longer being advised to remain at home. This reflects the latest government advice as England and Wales move out of lockdown; more of the population are vaccinated for covid-19 and infection rates in the community are declining. You may have received an update letter explaining the changes.
It is still advised that you maintain social distancing, hand hygiene, and avoid busy public places. New advice on the number of people able to meet and where it is safe to meet is being updated.
If you have been shielding and are comfortable adapting to more social contact you can do so, following national guidance. You may be able to return to work if you are able to work from home. If you have any concerns about safety in your working environment, you can discuss this with your employer. The job retention scheme has been continued and may still be accessible for you if you have been furloughed.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland shielding advice remains in place. In Scotland, guidance applies to all those in Level 3 areas (mainland Scotland and some island communities). In Northern Ireland, shielding advice is being altered from 12th April. More changes are likely as lockdown restrictions are lifted and community infection rates reduce, and vaccination roll out continues.
For some people the relaxation of shielding may feel like a positive step encouraging more activity out with the home and social contact with some people out of doors, depending on guidance in the area. For other people, shielding has been a difficult but important way to keep themselves safe. It is worth considering what options feel right for you as the guidance changes and adjusting what you do in a way that keeps you physically and mentally healthy. What feels right is likely to vary from person to person. It may depend on whether you are currently on treatment, how isolated you feel and whether you feel comfortable increasing your activity in your community.
Each devolved nation has detailed information about the changes in shielding guidance and what it means for you: