Shielding in Wales set to be paused on 16th August because of impact of isolation on mental health
People shielding will no longer need to from August 16th, assuming there is no negative change in the progression of the pandemic.
The announcement was made this lunchtime by Chief Medical Officer Dr Atherton, followed by a written statement by Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales reviews his advice for those who are shielding on the same 21-day cycle as the review of the lockdown regulations.
Since the last review he has modified his advice to allow those who are shielding to be part of an extended household.
Welsh Government said that decision was taken because of the impacts that loneliness and isolation can have on an individual’s mental health
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “In his review for the most recent period, the Chief Medical Officer has indicated that, should prevalence of coronavirus continue to fall within our communities, he will be able to pause his advice to those who are shielding.
“Those who are shielding will no longer need to do so after the 16th August. After this date, those who have been shielding should follow the advice given for the ‘at risk’ group.”
“The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has made this decision in line with CMOs across the other UK nations; recognising that shielding was put in place to protect those at the most significant risk of harm at a time when prevalence of the coronavirus in our communities was rising.
“As prevalence in our communities is now falling, that situation has changed. The significant harms associated with continuing to shield are of concern and we are focussed on helping people to make steps toward returning to the lives they lived before the advice to shield was put in place.”
“There are a number of weeks before the shielding period comes to an end, but it is important that we let people know as soon as we can what the expected advice will be so they can make plans.
“It may be that they need to prepare for a return to work or school. For those who are receiving food boxes these will remain in place until 16 th August.
“Other support for those shielding such as the volunteer medicine delivery scheme will be available until the end of September and priority shopping slots will continue to be available for the time being.
“It is important to note that just as we are planning relaxations, the experiences of other nations and indeed our own management of outbreaks has shown that we do need to be prepared to potentially step advice up again if required.
“The shielded patients list will remain in place and available should we need to ask anyone to shield again in future.
“As we move toward the autumn we will seek to refine the way we assess personal risk with the use of a tool currently in development on a four nations basis.”
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