Social Distancing, Isolation and Shielding

-Last updated 10/07/20-

Recently there has been a lot of talk about measures that we must take in order to protect the most vulnerable, and to stop this virus spreading. The Government has asked the public to take these steps to delay the spread of the virus and protect our NHS.

It can be confusing so we have outlined below what steps we all must take. It is important that the fit and healthy who will likely only suffer mild symptoms follow the guidance so that we can shield the vulnerable from the virus. 

Age UK have published an extensive guide for those who are unsure what category they fall into. This advice can be found here

Social Distancing 

Whilst there has been an easing of lockdown recently, we must all remain vigilant and STAY ALERT while outside. From 4 July the Government have published new guidance about social distancing.   

On 19 June, the UK CMOs changed the COVID-19 alert level from level four to level three following a recommendation by the Joint Biosecurity Centre. This means that the virus is considered to be in general circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially. As a result, the UK Government has decided to continue to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious and consistent with our plan. You may now:

  • meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
  • when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with
  • additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
  • other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
  • you can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing)
  • it will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law and unless all members of the group are exclusively from two households. Police will have the power to break up groups larger than 30, apart from these exceptions

From 4 July, people will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above). The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep themselves and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, we trust people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do. 

The Government has published advice on how to stay safe while outdoors. The best thing that you can do to keep yourself safe is remember to thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds before you leave your house and immediately upon your return.

Self-isolation

If you start to show symptoms you must immediately isolate yourself from others. If you start to have persistent cough or a high temperature it is important that you take steps to isolate yourself from family members and friends. This isolation period should last for 7 days

If a member of your household develops symptoms, every member of the household should isolate for 14 days. This should allow time for the virus to pass. Where possible, it is important to isolate away from the vulnerable

Shielding 

In 90% of cases there will only be mild symptoms. If you are among the most vulnerable in society, it is important that you remove yourself from all contact if possible and avoid groups. This is to prevent you from contracting the virus. 

Up to date information regarding steps to take to protect vulnerable and extremely critically vulnerable can be found here

The Government has recently announced plans to ease the lockdown for the 2 million people who have been shielding. You can find more information here.

If you are unsure of steps that you should take, consult the NHS 111 website here 

It is important at all steps to look after our mental health. If you are in struggling at any time look at this guide and try and reach out to friends in need.