The aim of this document is to provide a sense of direction for shielding beyond the original 12 weeks. As people in Scotland learn to live with, and eradicate, this virus, people who have been asked to shield will want to know how their lives as they knew them can be recovered, their relationships with loved ones renewed and how they can regain access to the things that matter to them.
Some people will be frustrated that they are being asked to shield for longer, even if the possibility of taking exercise outdoors in future might make it more bearable. We understand that it cannot be too soon for many people before they see their children and grandchildren again. Others will feel a continuing sense of threat from the virus, and will be very cautious about any gradual relaxation of shielding, regardless of public advice. We hope this document will help you to understand why these decisions are being taken.
We are learning about the virus all the time, and in particular about the factors that increase or reduce the risk to particular people. Because different things matter to different people, we need to move towards a position where we are supporting you to make choices about shielding. In the course of the summer, once the evidence base has been developed, we will:
- Provide you with updated clinical evidence about your conditions and what that means for your risk from Covid,
- Help you understand the changing levels of infection in the community and how to reduce the chance of catching the virus yourself
- Provide that information in a way that is accessible, understandable and helpful,
- Give you access to support that can help you make informed choices about your life,
- Support you to put your choices into practice.
These choices have an impact on your lives and those of your loved ones. That's why it's important that you are given the chance to consider what matters to you. We will continue to advise you in an honest and open way, and we promise to follow the evidence so that our advice is right for people shielding in Scotland.
Our advice will remain under review as we see the impact of changes to lockdown. Our recommendations on shielding – and our reasons for making those recommendations - will become part of Scotland's route map through and out of the crisis, which will be updated regularly.