What is the latest government advice?

Update June 2020

The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding.

People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. 

People who are shielding can meet with one other person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time. 

The Public Health England website states:

This guidance is for people including children who are clinically extremely vulnerable. It’s also for their family, friends and carers.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus (COVID-19). 

This includes clinically extremely vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or people with special needs.

During the COVID-19 crisis, there has been some debate about who is and who is not considered clinically vulnerable or at high risk of complications from Covid-19 infection.

We know that many families who care for children and adults with Rett Syndrome have not received letters advising them to shield or that their family member is extremely vulnerable. Some have received the letters several months into the crisis.

At Reverse Rett, we continue to advise caution to all families and carers of children and adults with Rett Syndrome. Even if you are not sure if your child or adult is vulnerable, where possible, try to follow the guidance for shielding which is as follows: 

Who this guidance is for

  1. If you wish to spend time outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.
  2. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time).
  3. Stay alert when leaving home: washing your/their hands regularly, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size.
  4. You should not attend any gatherings, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.
  5. You should strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your sense of taste or smell).

The Government is currently advising people to shield until 30 June 2020 and is regularly monitoring this position.

Update 11th May 2020

Government guidance in England has changed as of May 10th 2020 so that members of the general public, as of Wednesday May 13th 2020, will be able to:

  • Go to work if they cannot work from home but they should still avoid public transport if possible because of social distancing.
  • Take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise rather than only exercising once a day
  • People will also be free to sit in parks, and be able to “play sports” with people from the same household
  • It will also be possible for households to drive to other destinations (such as parks and beaches) in England
  • But social distancing rules – keeping at least two metres away from people outside your household – must still be followed

The guidance has not changed in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

For people who are more vulnerable, including people with Rett syndrome and other rare diseases, the guidance has not changed.

Public Health England guidance on shielding and protecting vulnerable people was updated on 5th May 2020.

For the next 12 weeks we are instructed to:

  • Stay at home and avoid any face-to-face contact with others
  • Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • All people coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there.

Public Health England guidance for the general public has not yet been updated to reflect the aforementioned changes. All the PHE guidance re Coronavirus can be found here.

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