In response to “significantly falling” infection rates, the Government has announced changes to “shielding” guidance in England and Wales. The government has already eased restrictions in early July, in the lead up to a pause in the programme from the 1st August 2020, when clinically vulnerable patients will no longer be advised to “shield”.
The relaxed guidance advises that (from Monday July 6th 2020) those “shielding”, should they wish, may:
- meet in a group of up to 5 other people (6 people in total) outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing
- choose not to observe social distancing with other members of your household
- in line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.
Extremely clinically vulnerable groups are advised by the government to continue to take precautions even after “shielding” is paused at the end of July and to adopt strict social distancing measures thereafter.
The government has made clear that these plans are subject to regular review and would depend on a continued reduction in infection rates.
People with IBD who are uncertain about their COVID-19 risk and the level of precautions they should be taking can continue to use the IBD COVID-19 tool. Since its launch, over 34,000 people in the UK with IBD have self-assessed their risk.
The Registry, working with the British Society of Gastroenterologists, clinicians and patient organisations will be exploring the future of the COVID-19 UK IBD Tool in coming weeks as risk level continue to change.
If you have questions about what the new announcement could mean for you or your patients and further information on guidance in Scotland and Wales, you can find a wealth of information for adults at Crohn’s and Colitis UK and for children and young people at CICRA.