New advice to people identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable

older gentleman looking out of a window

Posted on: 14 October 2020

The Government has published new advice and guidance to support people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this.

The guidance says that unlike earlier in the year, there are measures in place now that offer protection to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.  They include the rule of six and widespread use of face coverings, for example.

As we now have better data about new infections, new guidance has been issued which reduces the need for restrictive shielding like last time.

In a statement this week, the government said that they will only reintroduce formal shielding advice in the the very worst affected local areas and for a limited period of time.

That would apply to some, but not all, of the ‘Local COVID alert’ levels, and will be based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

The government would write to you separately to tell you if you are advised to shield, but unless that happens, you don’t need to.

Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon said:

“This is much better for people who were shielding last time.  I know that many of you found it very challenging, and worrying, and we would not wish to see such a measure required again.   However, if you are clinically extremely vulnerable, there are sensible measures that you can take – as we all can take – to reduce exposure to the virus.”

General advice

In Devon, we do not have general local restrictions on households mixing right now.  But try to keep the number of social interactions that you have low, indoors and outdoors.

Continue to keep your distance with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You are OK within your home with members of your household, but keep at least two metres away from other people if they’re visiting your home.

Try to avoid places where you’re unable to maintain social distancing.

If you’re meeting with others outside your household, try to do so outdoors.  If indoors, try to keep the area ventilated with fresh air.

In the workplace

If you work, do so from home where possible.  If that’s not possible, your employer should have taken steps to reduce risk of exposure to the virus in the workplace.

When travelling

If you need to go out, try to walk or cycle, and minimise the number of people you come into close contact with.  Travelling by car should mean fewer social contacts, and avoid sharing a car with people outside of your immediate household or support bubble.

If you need to use public transport, of course wear a face covering unless you are exempt, and consider travelling outside busier times.


Ask friends, family or volunteers to help with shopping. Or consider shopping at quieter times of day, and wear face coverings in all shops unless you’re exempt.

Don’t forget the NHS Volunteer Responders can support you with shopping, medication and other essential supplies.  Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week to self-refer or visit for further information.

Mental health and wellbeing

It’s important that you look after yourself physically and mentally, and that you receive the care and support you need.

You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation. To find out more visit the NHS website about accessing support at home  or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.

Your mental health is also really important.  There is advice and there are practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during the pandemic.  Visit the Every Mind Matters website for more information.

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Health and Wellbeing