Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding support and contacts

Details of shielding support for vulnerable people to arrange for food and medicine deliveries, and other support services.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding support and contacts
How to shield

How to shield

You should stay at home and minimise non-essential contact with the other people in your household. We would not ask you to undertake these measures if we did not believe they are necessary to save lives and protect the NHS.

You should also follow these face-to-face distancing measures:

  • strictly avoid contact with anyone in your household who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID19) - these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • don’t leave your house
  • don’t go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at your front door to minimise contact
  • keep in touch with family and friends using technology such as phone, internet, and social media

Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services - if you require an ambulance, call 999 and tell the call handler you’re following shielding measures because of an underlying health condition.

To help the NHS provide you with the best care if you need to go to hospital as a result of catching coronavirus, we ask that you have ready a single hospital bag. This should include your emergency contact, a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency), any information on planned appointments and essential things you would need for an overnight stay (snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc). If you have an anticipatory care plan, please include that.  

Other people who live with you

Other people in your household do not have to shield themselves at home for 12 weeks.

This means that if they have to leave the house to go to work, such as if they’re a key worker, they can carry on doing so.

However, to help keep you safe, they must follow guidance on social distancing and reducing their contact outside the home where they can.

In your home, you should: 

  • minimise the time you spend with others in shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom and sitting areas) and keep any shared spaces well ventilated
  • aim to keep 2 metres away from others and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible
  • use separate towels and, if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household or, if this is not possible, clean the bathroom with cleaning products after every use
  • avoid using the kitchen when others are present, take your meals back to your room to eat where possible, and ensure all kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly, using a dishwasher set to 60 degrees if you can, or in very warm, soapy water
If the rest of your household are able to follow this guidance to help keep you safe, there is no need for them to wear any special medical clothing or equipment.