Shielding ends in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Shielding advice has been paused in most parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Saturday.

The relaxing of the guidance allows extremely clinically vulnerable people who have stayed at home to protect themselves from Covid-19 greater freedom.

They will also be allowed to return to work if is safe to do so.

But vulnerable people living in places in England that have had new lockdown measures imposed should continue shielding.

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This advice applies to Leicester, Oadby and Wigston, Blackburn with Darwen and Luton, but not to the areas in the north west of England where restrictions on household meetings were introduced on Friday.

From Saturday, people who have been shielding will no longer receive free food parcels, medicine deliveries and basic care from the National Shielding Service.

Some 2.2 million people deemed extremely vulnerable to coronavirus have been shielding in England alone since March.

As the shielding measures are relaxed, vulnerable people are being asked to adopt strict social distancing policies and limit their social interactions.

A coalition of charities urged the Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to protect the jobs of workers who have been shielding, warning they will be put in an “impossible position” when restrictions ease.

The Government says employers have been told to make sure the shielded can work from home wherever possible, including moving them to another role if required.

If employers cannot provide a Covid-safe working environment, those who are clinically vulnerable will be able to access financial support including statutory sick pay and welfare payments, it has said.

Vulnerable people in Leicester have been advised to continue to shield. Credit: PA

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced shielding was to be paused in Scotland on 1 August last Thursday.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am pleased to confirm that from August 1, we will pause the advice for people to shield.

“For those of you who have been shielding, this means that from Saturday you can now follow the guidance for the general population.

“But please be especially careful about face coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing. ”

She added: “The pause also means that children who have been shielding will be able to return to school.

“And adults will be able to return to work.”

Coronavirus shielding is to continue until 16 August for people in Wales.