Covid-19 shielding for most vulnerable paused in Scotland

The policy of shielding for Scots in groups deemed most vulnerable to coronavirus has ended today.

Covid-19 shielding for most vulnerable paused in Scotland Pixabay

The policy of shielding from Covid-19 for the groups deemed most vulnerable to the virus has ended in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon announced last week the “pause” in shielding would begin on August 1 after receiving scientific advice backing the move.

Speaking on July 24, the First Minister said at that stage people in shielded groups would be able to shop and meet people indoors for the first time.

The First Minister reaffirmed the move to end shielding on Thursday when she updated the Scottish Parliament on lockdown measures.

She said it was possible due to the suppression of coronavirus in Scotland, with no deaths recorded of Covid patients for 15 days now.

However, 30 new cases of the virus were confirmed in Scotland on Friday, the highest daily total for eight weeks.

People with specific pre-existing health conditions, considered to be in the most at-risk groups to coronavirus, were initially asked to shield for a period of 12 weeks.

They include people who have had solid organ transplants, people with certain cancers and those with severe respiratory conditions.

Shielding has affected around 180,000 Scots, the government estimates.

The gradual winding down of shielding means Scots should be “especially careful” about using face masks and physical distancing, Sturgeon has said.

From today, they should follow the guidance for others who are at higher risk from the virus, such as the elderly.

These include keeping active, keeping hands clean and keeping contacts as low as possible.

Children who are shielding will be able to go back to school and adults will be able to return to work if it is deemed safe to do so.

Employers will have to ensure it is safe for a shielding person to return to work, although it remains Scottish Government guidance that working from home should be the default position for everyone where possible.

Sturgeon told MSPs on Thursday: “I know that the pause in shielding will be a huge relief to many, but I suspect it will also make you feel anxious.

“So please be assured that we are pausing shielding now because we believe it is safe to do so.

“However, if circumstances change, our advice will also change. We will continue to put your safety first.”

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