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26/03/2020

What is the latest government advice?

Updated 23rd June 2020

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: 

  1. People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but may now choose to leave their home, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.
  2. If you choose to spend time outdoors, you may do so with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time.
  3. 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.
  4. Stay alert when leaving home: washing your/their hands regularly, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size.
  5. You should not attend any gatherings, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.
  6. 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).

On 22 June the government set out a series of steps for further relaxing shielding guidance which will come into effect on 6 July and 1 August.

From 6 July, the government will be advising:

  1. You may, if you wish, meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing
  2. You no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of your household
  3. In line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) in the general population, you may from this date, if you wish, also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance
  4. From 1 August the government will be advising that shielding will be paused. From this date, the government is advising you to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble. In practice this means that from 1 August you can go to work, if you cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID-safe
  5. Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers.
  6. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing
  7. You can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but you should maintain strict social distancing
  8. You should remain cautious as you are still at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so the advice is to stay at home where possible and, if you do go out, follow strict social distancing.

The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable group remains advisory. More detailed advice will be updated as the changes in advice come into effect on 6 July and 1 August.

Unless a significant rise in cases is seen, the government expects the shielding programme to be paused on 31 July.

Those in receipt of centrally provided food boxes and medicine deliveries will continue to receive this support until the end of July if they want it.

Guidance for the General Public Update 24th June 2020

Government guidance in England was updated on June 24th 2020, setting out what people can and can’t do from 4th July onwards:

From 4 July:

  1. You can 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.
  2. When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
  3. 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
  4. Other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open.
  5. You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household.
  6. 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.

Moving forward, 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 them 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.

You should not:

  1. Gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
  2. Gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households.
  3. Interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship.
  4. Hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.
  5. Stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)
  6. Gatherings of more than 30 people will be prohibited, apart from some limited circumstances to be set out in law.

This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland additional guidance is available:

Scotland guidance
Wales guidance
Northern Ireland guidance

All the PHE guidance re Coronavirus can be found here.