Public health advice underlined as shielding is paused

Date published: 31 July 2020

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has reiterated the key public health advice to all those who are stopping shielding from today.

Shielding advice was issued to protect those with medical conditions that left them extremely vulnerable to Covid-19.

Shielding is paused from today but the situation will be kept under review.

Dr McBride said: “I am urging everyone who has been shielding to be vigilant. The risk of being infected by the virus has reduced but your underlying vulnerability to it still remains.

“Caution is still the order of the day. This means minimising any risk as much as possible, and being aware that all contacts with the outside world must be managed really carefully.

“Keep your distance from others, wash your hands regularly and often, don’t touch your face, and avoid touching hard surfaces if you are out.”

Dr McBride urged the whole community to support those who are no longer shielding.

“As a rule of thumb, assume the person you are passing in the street or who is standing next to you in a queue has been shielding for months. Put yourself in their shoes. They may well be very anxious about resuming everyday activities. Please be considerate and give them the space and time they need.

“We should all be ‘sticking to the script’ when it comes to social distancing, respiratory hygiene and hand washing. Wearing a face covering in shops and other enclosed spaces is a really important way we can keep each other safe.  We spread the virus - so watch your distance, wash your hands, wear a face covering – please don’t share or spread it.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:
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  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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