Shielding caller "can't understand" why others want to remain shielded

22 June 2020, 19:43 | Updated: 22 June 2020, 20:16

By Fiona Jones

This vulnerable caller not only welcomed the easing of shielding in England but "can't understand" why others would not want to return to work.

From 6 July, shielding people in England will be able to meet up outdoors in a group with five other people to form "support bubbles."

From August 1 shielding will be "paused" in England, meaning vulnerable people will be able to return to work providing their workplace is Covid-secure, Matt Hancock announced in today's daily briefing.

A shielding caller Peter welcomed the lifting of the restriction: "I want to get back to normality, I want my life back."

He understood the worries of fellow shielders, yet said: "We've still got in place social distancing, we've still got to wear a face mask on public transport, there's loads of things you can do personally to make sure you're less likely to get infected."

"I'm looking forward to getting back to work, to full-time employment, and not being stuck at home," Peter said, "I can't understand why anyone would want shielding to go on any longer than necessary."

Eddie cited a previous caller who has been shielding and is worried the government has plucked an arbitrary date out of thin air to relax shielding rules.

Matt Hancock announced today that shielding advice will be "paused" from August 1
Matt Hancock announced today that shielding advice will be "paused" from August 1. Picture: PA

Peter countered that it is not an arbitrary date, "they're looking at the R number constantly."

He said the reason that vulnerable people were told to shield in the first place was to protect the NHS and "we've done that so there's no need now for shielding people to worry about if they get infected not having the ability to get a bed in the ICU."

Eddie said it is not just about hospital capacity, if someone has been at death's door the idea of going back to work would be frightening.

Peter told LBC he had suffered a severe asthma attack and sepsis this year, "At the end of the day, we can go out and get hit by a bus, anything can happen.

"If you do what you can to protect yourself then I see no reason why you can't go back to work," Peter said, caveating that if the workplace is not safe then "of course" one should not return, "if you're shielding and can return get back to normality."

He told Eddie being shielded for the last three months has been "utter hell"; he has not slept in the same room as his partner and they socially isolate in the house.

"It plays on your mental health being stuck indoors, just staring out thinking I want to go out I want to exercise," he said, acknowledging that some would find his opinion controversial.