Shielding could return in Wales as chief medical officer prepares 'fresh advice'

Credit: PA

The chief medical officer for Wales is preparing "fresh advice" to people previously on the shielding list in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

The shielding group, thought to be around 130,000 people in Wales, are those who are classed as extremely vulnerable to developing serious illness because they have a specific health condition.

Dr Frank Atherton will be issuing "fresh advice" to shielders.

In August Dr Frank Atherton told those most at risk they no longer needed to shield after the "reducing prevalence of coronavirus here in Wales."

Dr Atherton said the shielding programme was "paused" but many people had mixed feelings about the restrictions being lifted.

"I doubt that it will be to suggest to them that they go back to the measures that were expected of them earlier in the summer, where they were advised not go out at all, even for exercise," Mr Drakeford said.

"We know that was a very, very big ask to people and it came with harms of its own in terms of loneliness, isolation and people's sense of mental health and wellbeing and so on.

"But the context is changing and I think the chief medical officer will want to make sure that those people who were on the shielded group get the benefit of updated advice from him."

People most at risk were initially asked not to leave the house at all for a period of 12 weeks - and then from 1 June, people were told they could leave their homes to meet people from another household outdoors, as long as strictly follow to social distancing rules and good hygiene measures.