Coronavirus lockdown may be extended as society tries to grapple with the pandemic. New health conditions have been added to the list that requires people to stay at home for three months. What are they?
On Tuesday April 7, at the Downing Street briefing, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty commented on shielding measures.
He said: “There are additional people who have been identified either by specialist medical groups or by GPs.
“[They] know that someone has got a group of conditions, or a particular condition, that isn’t on the list but makes them particularly vulnerable.
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“So some people have been added to the list as a result of that.”
Although Professor Whitty didn’t clarify what medical conditions were added to the list, those affected will receive a letter advising them to implement shielding measures.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said it would be publishing updated shielding guidance later this week.
So far, the government body has written that the most vulnerable in society are:
1.Solid organ transplant recipients.
- People with specific cancers
2. people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- 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
3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
The “great majority” of high-risk people had been identified through medical records.
What is shielding?
“Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus,” said the government body.
Those identified are “strongly advised” to stay at home at all times and to avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks – from the instance they receive a letter.
The government body added: “Please note that this period of time could change.”
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The status of coronavirus is forever changing in the UK.
Originally, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was going to update the public on the latest social distancing measures this week.
However, he’s since been in an intensive care unit with the deadly virus himself.
And there’s been no official timescale for how long all of this will go on for.
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For anybody living with a vulnerable person, they’re advised to “stringently follow guidance on social distancing”.
Social distancing involves avoiding contact with anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19: a dry cough or fever.
Additionally it involves avoiding public transport, working from home if possible, and avoiding any gatherings.
Living with a person identified in one of the most vulnerable groups has its challenges.
For instance, it’s advised shared spaces – such as kitchen, sitting areas and bathrooms – are best used separately.
For those with no option but to share bathrooms, it’s important for it to be thoroughly cleaned after every use.
House members are encouraged to remain two meters apart from one another – and to sleep in different beds where possible.
Everybody “should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces”.
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