Lockdown: GP warns ‘we’ve lost the battle’ and rules are ‘cosmetic’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has placed England back under lockdown conditions after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the UK. Schools have been closed, Britons told to work from home and non-essential shops closed. As well as bringing back the stay at home message, Mr Johnson has told all those who are clinically vulnerable to shield once more.
Lockdown restrictions could last until March, with the roll-out of vaccines crucial in the fight against coronavirus.
In his televised address announcing the lockdown on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, we are advising you to begin shielding again and you will shortly receive a letter about what this means for you.”
If you’re at a higher risk from coronavirus, you can get help from an NHS volunteer with things like getting food, medicines and other things you need.
You can call 0808 196 3646 (open 8am to 8pm) to get help from NHS Volunteer Responders.
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What are the rules if you are shielding during lockdown?
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who were previously told to shield should stay at home and only leave for medical appointments and exercise.
They are advised not to go to work even if they cannot work from home.
The NHS has issued advice for those who are deemed high risk from coronavirus.
Those who are shielding:
- do not go to work, school, college or university
- limit the time you spend outside your home
- only go out for medical appointments, exercise or for essential reason
- To reduce your risk from coronavirus, you may want to:
- do your shopping online
- ask family or friends to collect shopping for you
- avoid busy times if you go shopping
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If you do have to go outside the NHS advises you
- try to stay at least two metres (three steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people, such as on public transport, in shops and in hospitals
Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you have been outside and your hands are not clean.
Try not to touch things which people you do not live with have touched, this includes food and drinks.
You should work from home if possible and your employer should support you to do this.
If you cannot work from home and you’re concerned about having to go to work, talk to your employer.
Employers should make sure suitable arrangements are in place so you can go to work, and you may be able to get a shielding note to show your employer.
Who should be shielding?
The Government says those who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
There are two ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:
1. You have one or more of conditions listed below, or
2. Your clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded Patient List because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem to you be at higher risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.
People with the following conditions are automatically deemed clinically extremely vulnerable:
- solid organ transplant recipients
- people with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
- people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- problems with your spleen, for example splenectomy (having your spleen removed)
- adults with Down’s syndrome
- adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
- women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
- other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions
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