Wales' vulnerable told not to shield as fresh advice issued ahead of fire-break lockdown

Vulnerable people in Wales are being told they don't need to start shielding as coronavirus cases rise, but should take extra care. Credit: PA Images

People in Wales who are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 are being told they do not need to shield ahead of the fire-break lockdown.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales issued fresh advice to around 130,000 people who were told to shield at the start of the pandemic, as well as others who have been newly identified as at risk.

While shielding helped some feel protected from the virus, he said it caused significant loneliness and isolation for others.

As a result, those people have been sent a letter advising them to "take extra care" as cases increase across the country.

Dr Frank Atherton wrote: "I recognise that this is a very worrying and challenging time for you and your family.

"I want to help you understand the choices you can make to minimise your own risk and also help you discuss with your family and friends how they can support you by following the same advice.

"The guidance here is not just for those who were shielding before – everybody can follow it to reduce their risk."

People with underlying health conditions putting them at additional risk of the virus were forced to stay at home for weeks on end. Credit: PA Images

The guidance comes as latest figures reveal there have been 1,134 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, with seven more deaths.

Those on the shielding patients list are being advised to:

  • Follow social distancing guidelines, wash hands and clean surfaces regularly

  • Keep contacts to a minimum

  • Shop online or during quieter times of the day

  • Get a flu vaccine as it circulates alongside Covid-19 during winter

During the first lockdown, those isolating were eligible for food boxes that were delivered free to their homes by volunteers, but that ended on 30 September.

Dr Atherton suggested people reach out to their family, friends, community, local pharmacy and council if they need additional support and help accessing medicine groceries.

Some people aged 18 or under have been taken off the shielding list, as children are less likely to get sick from the virus.