A woman from Copthorne in West Sussex, who has been shielding during the coronavirus pandemic, says she's still concerned about leaving her home, despite a relaxation in the rules.

Raelene Goody, who has cystic fibrosis, has left her home only once since shielding rules were introduced in March.

She says she's trying to avoid crowded public areas, although the latest changes mean she can now visit shops and other public places.


I don't want to risk these past four to five months of protecting myself to go out into the world and end up getting ill.

Raelene Goody

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.


"For some people, they've really struggled with their mental health through lockdown," says Sam Ward from the Royal Voluntary Service.

The RVS has been providing support throughout the lockdown, working with the NHS to support the National Shielding Service.

"They've not been able to get out, see anybody, do anything of the things that make up the structure of the day, so for those people I think [the end of shielding] is good news."



But Sam also says the decision to stop shielding should be up to individuals to decide for themselves

"It comes down to, 'Do they feel safe to do so?', 'Is it actually going to improve their health and wellbeing to do that?'

"If the answer is no, and they can shield, then should absolutely continue to do that."

Formal support through the National Shielding Service, which delivered food parcels and medicines to the clinically vulnerable will end.

But the Royal Voluntary Service, the NHS Emergency Responders and local groups will keep providing support.


The Government says that those where shielding can now consider returning to work, but employers must be able to accommodate them if they cannot return to the office safely, 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.

It also says that rules for the 2.2 million classed as extremely clinically vulnerable will continue to be updated, with guidance specific to them that might not apply to the wider population.