People shielding in Wales will be able to go to work, school and the shops from 16 August

16 July 2020, 12:36

Restrictions will be eased from next month in Wales
Restrictions will be eased from next month in Wales. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

People who have been shielding from the coronavirus pandemic in Wales will be able to resume some normal activities from next month, according to the country's chief medical officer.

Dr Frank Atherton said on Thursday that the 130,000 people who have been advised to take the extra measures would be able to go to work, school and to the shops from 16 August.

They will also be able to form part of an extended household from this date.

But, he stressed, this relaxation of restrictions would still mean that adequate care would necessary, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from others, and frequent hand washing.

Until now, those who are shielding were able to take unlimited exercise outdoors and were also able to meet with one other household outdoors.

Should there be any rise in COVID-19 cases, Mr Atherton said there could be a reverting back to similar measures in order to keep the vulnerable safe.

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In a statement, he acknowledged the "very significant personal sacrifices" that many of those shielding had been forced to make, and thanked them for complying with the difficult task.

He said: "Shielding is a huge request for someone to undertake, so it’s important that we don’t ask people to shield for longer than is necessary."

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During the summer months, children on the shielding list will be reviewed and advice will be taken from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to decide which names should remain.

Dr David Tuthill, Wales Officer for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said that with continued research it was now understood that serious illness caused by the virus in children was "rare" and that shielding for children also brought its own issues.

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He added: "The lockdown has been tough for all children who have missed out on school, play and seeing friends – but especially for those who have been shielding.

"Should we face further outbreaks, we can be confident that the vast majority of children, including those under the sole care of a GP, will not need to shield.

"We hope this announcement will be good news for many families."

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Also in the statement was confirmation that weekly food box deliveries would cease from 16 August - although priority slots for online supermarket shopping would remain in place.

Prescription delivery services will continue until the end of September.