Advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people

Published Wednesday 4 November 2020 at 18:45

The government has issued new advice to people who were previously told to ‘shield’ as the second national lockdown starts tomorrow, Thursday 5 November.

People who are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to Coronavirus are advised to stay at home as much as possible during the four week lockdown period, only leaving the house to exercise and attend health appointments.

People who fall into this category – because they have health conditions that put them at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus – will receive a letter from the Department for Health & Social Care, setting out guidance on keeping themselves safe.

The government recently added Down’s Syndrome and chronic kidney disease to the list of conditions that deem someone as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

The Council will also contact around 6,500 people classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable in Blackburn with Darwen with details of how to ask for support through the BwD Help Hub.

The government is taking a different approach to that in the first lockdown earlier this year. It is not asking anyone to ‘shield’, but instead to limit their social contact.

People classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised to minimise contact with anyone they don’t live with, including providing childcare even if they are part of a childcare bubble.

However, people who are CEV can meet up with one other person from outside their household or support bubble to exercise outdoors only. It’s recommended that they avoid busy areas and keep a two metre distance from anyone they don’t live with.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people are advised not to go shopping or to pharmacies, and instead use online shopping services or ask other members of their household to collect shopping and prescriptions for them.

Help is also available through the BwD Help Hub or NHS Volunteer Responders.

The government has launched a new online service to help Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people to access support, including priority online shopping delivery slots. To register, visit

CEV people who cannot work from home during the four week lockdown period should talk to their employers as soon as possible. Financial help is available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme. People may also be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.

The government has extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which can provide help to anyone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and self-employed.

The government has reported more evidence that shows there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from COVID-19, even for children with existing health conditions. Parents of children who were previously advised to shield should talk to their GP or specialist clinician to understand whether their child should still be classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

Children still classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised not to attend school during the four week lockdown period.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people do not need to self-isolate from other people in their household, and the people they live with do not have to follow the new government guidance. If anyone who lives with a CEV person is unable to work from home, they can go out to work, and children can go to school. They should take extra care and follow the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ guidance.

Professor Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

As the whole of England goes into lockdown from this Thursday, the government is advising people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable to take extra precautions.

These measures are not as restrictive as when they were asked to shield during the first lockdown. The government and Public Health England recognise the huge impact that shielding had on people’s mental wellbeing and their feelings of isolation.

The advice this time is about limiting social contact as much as possible, at a time when locally we are seeing the rates of infection rising in almost all parts of the borough.

However, this needs to be balanced with other health needs. It is very important that these people, and indeed everyone, continues to attend health appointments during the second lockdown.

Dr Qashuf Hussain, Deputy Medical Director for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are at high risk of suffering severe illness if they contract Coronavirus.  The latest guidance is therefore for them to take extra precautions to protect themselves.

I would strongly recommend that anyone in this category, that receives a text or a letter, should follow the guidance.

Read the government’s updated advice to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people.

The Council’s Help Hub and telephone befriending services have offered a lifeline to many isolated people during the pandemic.

If you are worried about feeling isolated during the four week lockdown, or have concerns for someone you know, please reach out for support.

Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Adult Services, said:

We know that the current situation is challenging for everyone, and perhaps more so for people with health conditions that put them at a greater risk of complications if they were to catch the virus.

We also know that cases are extremely high in our borough and continuing to rise. Hospital admissions and the number of people in Intensive Care are also on the increase and sadly, deaths will inevitably continue to rise.

The Council’s priorities are to protect lives, protect the vulnerable, protect the NHS and protect the economy as much as possible.

We do not want anyone to worry or for their health to suffer because of these latest restrictions. Please remember that support is available to anyone who needs it through the BWD Help Hub.

Help Hub staff have helped thousands of people since March, and will continue to support people for as long as we need to. Please get in touch if you need help with anything.

The BwD Help Hub offers support with:

  • finance, benefits and debt management
  • mental health support
  • wellbeing and loneliness
  • learning, training and employment
  • getting online and using technology
  • access to food and essentials.

To contact the BwD Help Hub to ask for support:

  • Call 01254 588111 – lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday
  • Fill in the online Help Hub form at

There’s more local information about the government’s advice to people who were previously shielding on the Council website at

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