The First Minister has said that there are no plans to reintroduce shielding in Wales.
At the start of the pandemic, over 130,000 of the most vulnerable people to the virus in Wales were told to remain inside their homes and not see loved one – such was the threat the virus posed to them.
After several months of the virus being repressed, shielding was ended by the Chief Medical Officer on August 16.
Now with many parts of Wales in local lockdown and seeing a resurgence of the virus many formerly shielding people are wondering what they should do, especially after new rules were announced across Wales last night.
Speaking at the Welsh Government press conference today, Mark Drakeford said that he had no immediate plans to reintroduce shielding.
He said: “I know the chief medial officer is considering writing out again to shielded people in Wales. Not because we want to return to the rules as they were at the start of the crisis but because we want to learn from that experience and provide people with further advice and further reassurance.”
According to Mr Drakeford, the reason that people in areas affected by local lockdowns have not been asked to shield is because the danger of loneliness and isolation are just as concerning.
“We have said many times there is more than one form of harm from coronavirus,” he said.
“There were many shielded people whose lives were very difficult during those periods because of social isolation and the pressure on wellbeing that not being able to go out to meet people or do your own shopping brought with it.”
The First Minister, who has been living in a hut in his garden to protect his vulnerable family, said that though there was a risk, it was down to the person in question to make a judgment call.
He said: “We want to continue to have a sensible approach towards shielding. The advice to those people continues to be think carefully about the contacts you have, take a precautionary approach. But where people are confident they can go and collect medicines for themselves or take a walk in the park the advice is no longer seeks to prevent them from doing that because we are balancing the different harms that can be caused in peoples lives.”
If you need to speak to someone, the CALL Helpline provides confidential listening and emotional support in Wales, 24 hours a day – call 0800 132 737 or visit www.callhelpline.org.uk.
Older people, their family, friends, carers, or professionals can also contact Age Cymru’s Advice Line on 08000 223 444.