Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Details of shielding advice to help people make informed decisions and access support services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Overview of 'shielding' 

Shielding updates

Scotland has 5 protection levels. Find your area’s protection level and guidelinesIf you are on the shielding list, you should follow the general advice for your local protection level.

All areas of Scotland that are at level 4 are under lockdown restrictions until at least the end of January 2021. If you are on the shielding list you should not go to work during lockdown, unless you can work from home.

There’s also extra advice for those at higher risk from coronavirus, which you can choose to follow as well.

You can also find more information for people at higher risk from coronavirus at This includes information about work, school, and financial support you may be able to get if you cannot work during lockdown.

For information about the coronavirus vaccine, visit NHS inform.

We know that you might still be anxious, so we:

  • are using our text messaging service to send you updates and alert you when there is increased risk in your area – to sign up send your CHI number (at the top of your shielding letter) to 07860 064525
  • encourage you to download the new Protect Scotland app to help us stop coronavirus from spreading again

For more information on case numbers in your area, visit Public Health Scotland’s dashboard. This is updated daily with the latest figures from across Scotland.

Who this advice applies to

This advice applies to most people on the shielding list.

This includes people who are at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus. People on the list will receive a letter telling them so. This includes some children and young people.

It does not apply to anyone living in a residential care or nursing home. Care homes are following the separate guidance for care home settings.

Some of this advice may not be suitable for you. Contact your specialist care team to discuss if this advice is right for you. It will depend on your individual situation.

Your clinician might suggest you avoid doing certain things. This will be because of your specific health condition or treatments. You should continue to follow any specific advice they give you.

Examples include people who:

  • are waiting on a solid organ transplant
  • are having treatment for cancer or have recently completed treatment

Text messaging service

We will continue to send updates to your mobile phone through the Scottish Government text messaging service.

We encourage you to sign up to this service. This will make sure you receive updates as quickly as possible in the event of new local or national restrictions. We will also sometimes send you other useful information to help keep you safe.

You can sign up by texting your 10 digit CHI number to 07860 064525. You can find your CHI number on the shielding letter you have received. Please do not include any other information. The service will confirm that you are on the shielding list.

This service is only for people on the shielding list.

The service only accepts text messages. It does not take voice calls and cannot respond to questions. It can only respond to your texts with pre-programmed replies.


Call 0800 111 4000 to speak to someone from your local authority. This is the national COVID-19 helpline and it is free. It is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

First published: 25 Nov 2020 Last updated: 15 Jan 2021 -