Shielding ended in England on 31 March. This is because levels of coronavirus infection are much lower than they were when shielding was reintroduced. The number of people being admitted to hospital or dying from COVID-19 is coming down quickly. This is partly due to the lockdown, but also due to the success of the vaccination programme. In addition, people considered most at-risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19 have now been offered at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
You should receive a letter telling you about changes to the guidance.
You are no longer advised to shield from 1 April. Whether or not you choose to go out or see people when the guidance changes is a personal decision. If you do, it is important to follow strict social distancing and hygiene measures. The government also recommends that you take extra precautions to reduce your risk of infection.
- Follow the national restrictions. These apply to everybody in England.
- Work from home if you can.
- If you can't work from home, you can go to work as long as your employer has taken reasonable measures to make your workplace COVID-safe.
- You will no longer be able to claim statutory sick pay or employment and support allowance due to shielding. However, you might still be eligible for the furlough scheme or the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS), which have both been extended until September.
- Try to limit the number of people you see. The fewer people you interact with, the lower your risk.
- Do not meet up with anybody who has symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough and/or a loss of or change in sense of taste or smell) or who is self-isolating.
- Keep a safe distance away from people who are not members of your household or support bubble. If you choose to go out, you might find our 'distance aware' badge a helpful reminder to everyone to social distance when possible.
- When the rules allow you to meet people you don't live with, your risk of catching COVID-19 is lower if you meet them outdoors.
- If you choose to meet people indoors when it's allowed, keep windows and doors open to let plenty of fresh air inside.
- Avoid crowded places as much as possible.
- Unless you are exempt, wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, restaurants and pubs, and other indoor public places where you are likely to come into contact with people you don't know.
- If you need to travel, walk or cycle if you can.
- If you have to use public transport, try to travel at a quiet time of day and wear a face covering.
- Avoid car journeys with people who aren't in your household or support bubble.
- You can go to the shops, but you might prefer to shop online or ask friends or family to shop for you.
- You are eligible for priority supermarket deliveries until 21 June if you have already registered for them. You can register until 31 March.
- If you go to the shops, pick a quiet time of day and wear a face covering.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if hand-washing facilities aren’t available.
- Continue to access your healthcare. This might involve home visits, or phone or video appointments.
- The NHS volunteer responders scheme is still available if you need help getting food or medicine, or for help with transport to and from medical appointments. Contact them by phone on 0808 196 3646.
If you are concerned about the safety of your workplace, speak to your employer or your union representative, if you have one. You can also get advice from ACAS, the Health and Safety Executive or Citizens Advice. If you think your employer is treating you unfairly because of your lymphoma, the Equality Advisory and Support Service offer free advice.
If you need support to work safely at home or in the workplace, you might be able to get help from Access to Work.
You should continue to go to hospital or GP appointments unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Some appointments might be carried out remotely (for example, by phone or online). In-person appointments are still happening when they are needed. NHS Health at home has more information on accessing healthcare remotely.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are in a priority group for vaccination against COVID-19. You will be contacted to make an appointment to have the vaccine. This might be at a hospital, a community healthcare setting, or a vaccination centre. All settings providing vaccination are COVID-safe.
Even after having the vaccine, it is important to follow government guidance while the impact of the vaccination programme is being assessed.
If you need help arranging transport to an appointment, contact the NHS volunteer responders on 0808 196 3646.