Guidance on coronavirus for people who have lymphoma: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Some people are considered to be at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). The government uses the term 'extremely vulnerable' to describe people in this group. It includes people affected by lymphoma.

View the full government guidelines for extremely vulnerable people in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

On this page, we summarise the main advice for people affected by lymphoma in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

What is the latest advice for extremely vulnerable people?

What am I allowed to do?

What can I do to protect myself?

What support is available to me?

What if I have a medical appointment?
 

What is the latest advice for extremely vulnerable people?

Shielding is currently paused in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. People who are considered to be extremely vulnerable remain on the shielded patient list so they can be contacted if the advice changes.

The government will continue to monitor levels of coronavirus over the coming months. If levels of coronavirus become particularly high in your area, you might be advised to shield again, or take extra precautions to reduce your risk of developing COVID-19. If this is the case, you should be contacted by letter or text message with further advice. The advice might not be the same as the shielding guidance you received previously.

View the government's latest advice for extremely vulnerable people living in:

Government guidance states that shielding measures are not necessary during the 'circuit breaker lockdown' in Wales from 23 October to 9 November, but there are additional precautions you can follow to help reduce your risk of infection.

If you live in Scotland and you are on the shielding list, you can sign up to receive SMS text updates to tell you about your risk of coming into contact with the virus in your local area. Text your 10 digit Community Health Index (CHI) number to 0786 006 4525 to register for this service. You will be contacted to confirm that you are on the shielding list.

If you live in Wales, you can sign up to receive text or email alerts about shielding. You will need the reference code from the letter you received from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales to register for this service.

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What am I allowed to do?

If you would like to, and if you feel comfortable to, you can follow the same guidance as everybody else who lives in your area. You no longer have to socially distance from the people you live with.

In Northern Ireland:

Restrictions apply throughout Northern Ireland from16th October for 4 weeks. Many business are closed.

  • You can meet indoors with people in your household or support bubble.
  • You can see some other people outdoors, if you would like to. The exact guidance on how many people are permitted to meet indoors and outdoors depends on where you are meeting.
  • You can go out, if you would like to, to venues that are permitted to open, such as shops and places of worship and restaurants.
  • If you cannot work from home, you can go to work as long as your place of work is open and COVID-safe. You might find our article on safe working helpful.
  • Children who have been shielding can go back to school if schools are open in your area.

In areas of Scotland that do not have local restrictions:

  • You can meet in private homes with people from your household or extended household only.
  • You can meet people outdoors or in indoor public places in groups of up to 6 people from no more than 2 households. Children under 12 do not count towards the total.
  • You can go out, if you would like to – for example, to shops, places of worship and restaurants (if they are permitted to open in your area).
  • If you cannot work from home, you can go to work as long as your place of work is open and COVID-safe. You might find our article on safe working helpful.
  • Children who have been shielding can go back to school if schools are open in your area.

There is separate guidance for people who live in areas of Scotland that have local restrictions or are in local lockdown due to a rise in the number of coronavirus infections.

In Wales, there are strict restrictions in place during the 'circuit breaker lockdown' from 23 October to 9 November:

  • You must stay at home, except for very limited purposes such as essential shopping, medical appointments, exercise, or to access childcare or education.
  • You must work from home if at all possible.
  • You can't meet people you don't live with, indoors or outdoors, except:
    • carers
    • people who are the only adult in their household, who can form a temporary extended household with one other household.
  • You should only travel if it is essential.
  • Some businesses must close temporarily. This includes leisure venues, bars, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, non-essential shops and places of worship (except for weddings and funerals, subject to restrictions).
  • Children in school years 9 and above will be home-learning in the week after half-term. Primary schools and secondary school years 7 and 8 will remain open.
  • You must wear a face covering on public transport and in indoor public spaces that remain open, unless you are exempt.

If you are on the shielded patient list, you should receive another letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales with the latest advice on how to best protect yourself.

Local authorities might also put restrictions in place. You can find out more about this on your local authority’s website or by calling the national COVID-19 helpline free of charge on 0800 111 4000 (9am to 5pm).

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What can I do to protect myself if I am extremely vulnerable?

You should follow any specific advice your medical team gives you.

Whether or not you choose to go out or see people is a personal decision. If you do, it is important to follow strict social distancing and hygiene measures:

  • Minimise contact with people who are not in your household, support bubble or extended household.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from other people whenever you are out. You might find our 'distance aware' badge a helpful reminder to everyone to social distance when possible.
  • Avoid crowded places or gatherings where you can’t keep a safe distance from other people.
  • Try to shop online, or, if you need to go to the shops, pick a quiet time of day.
  • Wear a face covering on public transport and in shops and other indoor public places, unless you are exempt. The list of exemptions is slightly different in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Welsh government has produced a downloadable exemption card for people who are exempt to use if they want to. However, you should not be asked for proof of exemption.
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if hand-washing facilities aren’t available. Try not to touch your face.
  • 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).
  • Self-isolate and arrange to have a test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms of COVID-19. You should also self-isolate if anybody else in your household, extended household or support bubble has symptoms of COVID-19. There is separate guidance on self-isolating for people in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Book your flu vaccine.

We have more information about general measures you can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The government has produced some information that you might find helpful:

These resources might also be helpful for people in other nations, but please be aware that some of the guidance is specific to the individual nation (for example, the number of people you are allowed to meet).

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What support is available for me?

If you are on the shielded patient list, you can access priority supermarket delivery slots.

If you need help getting food, medicines or social support, check what assistance is available where you live:

You might also find our information on practical support and emotional support helpful.

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What if I have a medical appointment?

The government advises everyone to access medical assistance remotely (for example, by phone or online), wherever possible. If you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment while you are shielding, contact your GP or medical team to make sure you continue to receive the care you need.

It is possible that your hospital might need to cancel or postpone some clinics and appointments. You should contact your hospital or clinic to confirm appointments.

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