Shielding will last no longer than necessary - Minister

Date published: 18 May 2020

Guidance on shielding for people at potentially higher risk from Covid-19 is being actively reviewed, Health Minister Robin Swann has stressed.

£40million NI Micro-business Hardship Fund
£40million NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

The Minister said the advice will be updated ahead of the end of the initial 12-week shielding period.

But he stressed that the review of advice on shielding involves “complex and detailed work” and patient safety will always be prioritised.

“I am acutely aware how difficult this situation is for those who have been advised by doctors to shield on the basis of their existing medical conditions.

 “Issuing this advice was clearly the right course of action, given the scale of the threat posed by the virus to those with serious underlying medical conditions.

“I fully understand that all those shielding would like some clarity that the situation will not continue indefinitely. I want to make absolutely clear that shielding will last no longer than is deemed clinically necessary. This work is being taken forward on a NHS-wide basis, led by the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers.”

The advice on shielding remains current - anyone advised to shield by their GP or hospital specialist should continue to do so until advised otherwise. 

“The current review will carefully consider the need to protect people who are extremely vulnerable, in light of the latest evidence of the risk posed by Covid-19.  This is complex and detailed work and we must ensure we get it right.” the Minister added.

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email: pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk. Out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  2. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.

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