This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.
Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below) which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.
The following groups of people are classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ and at most risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. People in this group must isolate themselves for 12 weeks
- Solid organ transplant recipients.
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.
- 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 which 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 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
Those classified as ‘Extremely vulnerable’ are advised to ‘shield’ themselves from infection with coronavirus (COVID-19) by undertaking self-isolation for a period of 12 weeks by:
- Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms include high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough.
- Do not leave your house.
- Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
- Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
- Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
- Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
Read Full guidance
If you or a member of your family is in an ‘extremely vulnerable’ group it is important that you read the full government guidance.