People who have been shielding from coronavirus in Wales will be asked to continue until the middle of August.
Almost 130,000 people will this week start receiving a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales setting out the latest advice where they will be told to continue shielding until 16 August.
The letter will also outline a change in medical advice after new rules announced earlier this week allowed people to exercise outdoors and meet people from another household, as long as it takes place outdoors.
The shielded group are people who are classed as extremely vulnerable to developing serious illness if they contract COVID-19 because they have a specific health condition.
People most at risk were initially asked not to leave the house at all for a period of 12 weeks which has now been extended until August.
Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been focused on ensuring people who are at greatest risk are protected from coronavirus. The spread of coronavirus is being carefully monitored – if it gets lower, it is possible those within the shielded group will be able to do more. If it gets higher, we may advise those people to stop going outside and to stay at home again.”
Earlier this week, the Welsh Government announced a change in advice for people who are shielding, based on a review of the evidence by the four UK chief medical officers.
From 1 June, everyone who is shielding are being advised they can leave their homes to meet people from another household outdoors, as long as strictly follow to social distancing rules and good hygiene measures. This includes exercising outdoors.
The new August shielding date does not affect this updated advice."
Everyone in the shielding group has been asked to continue to rely on their existing support networks – including family and friends –for help with everyday tasks, such as food shopping and collecting prescription medicines.
For those who do not have anyone locally, the Welsh Government has worked with local authorities and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, major food retailers, GPs and pharmacies to ensure they can access the support they need to continue shielding.
The Welsh Government also continues to work with supermarket retailers in Wales which offer online shopping and home delivery to make sure priority slots are available for people who are shielding.
The rules for this group are expected to be reviewed again in the summer.
Watch the full briefing from Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton below: