Updated 3rd June 2020
On 31 May the Government updated their guidance for people who are shielding as they are considered ‘extremely vulnerable’ to COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19. The Government considers the risk of getting COVID-19 to be much lower than when the guidance was introduced so advises that people who are shielding can now go outdoors, either with members of their household, or so that they can meet people not from their household, as long as they maintain strict social distancing.
This is part of the Government’s easing of lockdown in England based on factors including the lower number of cases and deaths, and the capacity of hospitals, but some experts are concerned that the numbers have not dropped enough and there is a risk the infection rate will increase again. BHIVA and THT share this concern but we also recognise how isolated people may feel at this time, so advise the following:
If you have been advised to shield based on HIV (CD4 less than 50 or recent serious HIV-related illness,) or you have well-controlled HIV, but are shielding for other reasons:
1) If you are physically and psychologically able to continue to shield please do so.
2) If you wish to follow the Government’s advice in England and socialise outdoors please be super vigilant in maintaining social distancing, careful hand washing and avoiding any contact at all with people who have symptoms or are known to have COVID-19.
Anyone considered ‘extremely vulnerable’ can still access extra support here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.