The 2.2 million people shielding in England will be able to meet with up to six others outside their home from July 6 as long as they continue to maintain social distancing.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that if they live alone, they will also be able to form a “support bubble” with one other household, so they can visit their relatives, stay overnight with them, and go shopping together.

Shielding will be “paused” on July 31, together with food and support packages to shielders.

From the 1st August they can return to their jobs if their workplace is “Covid-secure”.

Matt Hancock thanked those who have been shielding since the lockdown began.

“I know this has been incredibly tough. Shielding has involved not leaving your house for months, not seeing people you care about, not being able to wander to the park for some fresh air, or even pop to the shops for something you need. This sacrifice has been for a purpose, and I want to thank every single one of you,” he said.

John Maingay, Director of Policy and Influencing at the British Heart Foundation said:

“Lockdown has been an incredibly challenging time for people with serious heart and circulatory conditions who have been shielding from Covid-19 and may have gone months without going outside, or seeing close family or friends.

“While some will benefit mentally and physically from the end to shielding, it may also cause concern for people with serious heart and circulatory diseases due to their increased risk of developing complications from the virus.

“As lockdown gradually eases and people return to normal life, the Government must ensure that all guidance is clear for all clinically vulnerable people to ensure they can access support and continue to get food and medicines. Meanwhile, those asked to return to work must be told how they, and their jobs, will be protected.

“With the ending of food and medicine boxes from 1 August, it is vital that no-one is left without the support they depend on and that people are made aware of alternatives that could help them.”


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