Thank you for contacting me about shielding and social distancing, especially guidance on those over 70 years of age.
This is a difficult time for people across the country, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been following government guidance by staying alert and keeping socially distant to slow the spread of the virus and reduce pressure on the NHS frontline.
Covid-19 spreads mainly when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. By limiting the amount of contact people have with each other, we can slow down the spread of the infection.
Until there is a method for treating, or preventing, this virus, through medicines or vaccines, some social distancing measures are likely to be in place. This is particularly important for groups that have been identified to be of greater risk of experiencing the illness in its most severe form, or of experiencing complications. These groups include people over 70, people under 70 with an underlying health condition like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system, and those who are pregnant.
I welcome clear Government guidance that enables people who are shielding to go outside with members of their household, or to meet one member from outside their household if they live alone, while maintaining social distance. This will be a most welcome step for individuals who have been unable to see family, or even leave the house, since March.
It is so important that members of the public continue to follow the guidance laid out by the Government, even though I know that this can be challenging. Our absolute priority must be to save lives by slowing the spread of the virus.
I have provided below an extract from the Government guidance that outlines those who should be taking extra care and in extreme cases shielding for the time being.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP