The advice to people in Wales who are clinically extremely vulnerable and were previously ‘shielding’ has changed and people in this group are now advised to avoid attending work or school outside of their home.
The change to the advice comes following the consideration of a ‘number of factors’ but in particular comes amid a significant rise in Coronavirus cases and concerns over a new strain of COVID-19. The advice is to be reviewed every three weeks, in line with the Welsh Government’s review of the country’s alerts levels.
Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething confirmed the advice in a written statement to the Senedd on Tuesday. Mr Gething said;
“Individuals in this group are already subject to the regulations in place at level 4 and therefore must stay at home as much as possible. However, I would wish to emphasise that the group can still go outside to exercise and also to attend medical appointments. We must remain conscious of the harms associated with isolation for long periods and therefore those in this group can remain part of a support bubble, as long as they take care.”
Individuals who were previously identified as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ are to receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales confirming the advice, but the letters are expected to be delayed due to the Christmas period.
The letters, when received, can be used as evidence, such as for claiming statutory sick pay.
On Monday, the UK Government said that clinically extremely vulnerable people who live in areas of England under Tier 4 restrictions should begin shielding again and that they do not have to go to work if they cannot work from home.
Details of the new guidance for people in Wales who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable is to be updated on the Welsh Government’s website ‘as soon as possible.’