COVID-19 UK Government Re-introduce Shielding for the Highly Vulnerable in Tier 4
The UK government have re-introduced shielding for all highly vulnerable people who are living in tier 4 areas.
All people with Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CPA) are classed as highly vulnerable, some people with Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) are classed as highly vulnerable – ABPA patients should seek advice on this from their local respiratory service or GP rather than the National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester.
As many of us will have immediate concerns about the Christmas period, we reproduce the advice given at the above link hear for ease of access:
Advice during the Christmas period
We recognise that many people may want to be with their friends and family over the festive period, particularly after a very difficult year. As a result, the Government is changing some restrictions on social contact in Tiers 1, 2 and 3, allowing you to form a ‘Christmas bubble’ in which you can spend time indoors and outdoors, including in your home, with people from up to 3 households including your own.
This will only apply on 25 December. More information about the rules on Christmas bubbles is available.
You may not form a Christmas bubble if you live in a Tier 4 area. You are still allowed to meet with your support bubble.
In Tiers 1, 2 and 3, you can choose to be part of a Christmas bubble if you are clinically extremely vulnerable, but it does involve greater risks for you as you will be increasing the number of people you have contact with. The safest approach is not to form a Christmas bubble. You will continue to minimise your risk of infection if you limit social contact with people that you do not live with, even at Christmas. It is important that you and the other people in your Christmas bubble consider these risks carefully before agreeing to form a bubble. Forming a Christmas bubble is a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection. You should also be aware that there is a new variant of the virus circulating currently, which may mean transmission of infection is more likely.
If you do decide to form a Christmas bubble it is advised that you maintain social distance from those you don’t normally live with at all times, avoiding physical contact. Everyone should wash their hands regularly and it is important to keep the space where you spend time with those you don’t normally live with well ventilated and to clean touch points regularly, such as door handles and surfaces. You may want to think about who you sit next to, including during meals, and also consider wearing a face-covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult as well as encouraging others to do the same.
If you don’t feel comfortable spending time with other people indoors, think of other ways that you can safely spend time together, for example on walks outdoors or supported by technology, and how you can make that time feel different and special. Going outdoors carefully for exercise is also encouraged. It is important that you do not feel pressured to celebrate Christmas in an environment that makes you anxious.
There may be a lot of expectation and pressure around celebrating Christmas together, but you should feel comfortable to do what is right for you over this period. To do that, it is important that the other people in your Christmas bubble understand your needs and increased risk. They can help by being extra vigilant in the days before you get together, reducing any unnecessary contact with people, especially as some people with the virus have no symptoms.
Before and after 25 December, you should follow the guidance that was in place before Christmas, in line with the restrictions for your local area.