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Folk who are shielding are able to meet friends and family indoors

By Scott Maclennan

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The people who are most vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus have been told by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that from today they can meet up with people indoors and go to pubs and restaurants.

Those who were shielding were people with specific health issues that meant they had the highest risk of death if they contracted the virus and experienced the worst of the lockdown by having to remain at home for the entire period.

So serious was their situation that they were even unable to go food shopping and had to get supplies delivered, a job that was often done by volunteers or through local authorities.

That has come to an end and the advice for people shielding could be completely lifted by the start of next month. They will still have to be extremely careful about hand washing and physical distancing, according to scientific advice.

They will be allowed from today to meet friends and family both indoors and out as well as going to the shops or hairdressers with face coverings, with more detailed advice on the Scottish Government website.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am very glad to say that once again during the past 24-hours no deaths were registered of patients confirmed through a test as having the virus – the total number of deaths under this measure therefore remains 2491.

“This is obviously very welcome news, it means that no deaths have been reported in Scotland under this measurement during the entirety of the past week and it means just one death in Scotland has been reported over the past 15 days.

“It is exactly four months to the day since the country went into lockdown, so there's no doubt that these figures show the incredible progress that has been made in that time.

“It's now almost four months since we asked those considered to be at the greatest risk from this virus to shield at that time, there was a very high risk that you might be exposed to the virus and therefore shielding was necessary to keep you safe.

“I know that shielding has been incredibly difficult, it has separated you from your family and loved ones, it has restricted you in virtually every aspect of your normal lives and there are very obvious very real potential harms to your mental health from extended isolation.

“From tomorrow, if you are shielding, you will be able to meet indoors with up to eight other people from up to two other household as long as physical distancing is in place.

“You will also be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 15 people from a maximum of four other households, you can also use public transport including taxis if you are wearing a face covering.

"You can go to outdoor spaces in pubs and restaurants, you can go to indoor shops and pharmacies in indoor markets, you can attend hairdressers and barbers and you can visit museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas.

“Children who live with someone who is shielding can attend formal childcare providers. These will take effect from tomorrow.

“Clinical advisors who have been closely examining all of the evidence have also advised us that, as things stand right now assuming no significant deterioration in the position, we will be able to pause the shielding advice altogether from August 1.

“From that day, the advice for people shielding will then be the same as for those who are simply at heightened risk from Covid-19 – older people, people who received the flu jab because of a health condition and people who are pregnant.”

More news here

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