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Scotland and Wales extend Covid-19 shielding periods



Scotland and Wales have extended the periods during which clinically extremely vulnerable patients should shield from Covid-19, until 31 July and 16 August respectively.

In England and Northern Ireland, the shielding period is currently due to end on 30 June.

This comes as patients in England and Wales have been told they can now go outside as long as they adhere to strict social distancing, as virus levels have dropped.

The Scottish Government said today that shielding patients may be able to go outside for daily exercise from 18 June, as long as virus transmission does not increase.

Chief medical officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton said: ‘We are asking all those in the shielding group to continue to shield until 16 August because coronavirus has not gone away. We want to do all we can to keep those people in this group safe and that means asking them to continue to shield.

‘I will continue to work with my chief medical officer colleagues to review the evidence for this group and will write to them again in the summer.’

Meanwhile, speaking in today’s Government briefing, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘Our recommendation at this stage is that you should continue to shield until 31 July.’

Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney added: ‘Today’s announcement means that, should there be no increase in rates of transmission of the virus, people shielding can go outdoors for exercise from 18 June while maintaining physical distancing of two metres.

‘We know many people may feel anxious about these changes and we would like to reassure everyone who has been advised to shield that they will shortly be receiving a letter from the Chief Medical Officer outlining how they can stay safe when they go outside, should they choose to do so.’

The news comes as the Government has said it is working on a ‘better’ risk algorithm for patients shielding from coronavirus, which is likely to remove 90,000 children from the list.