Presumably someone at the Department of Health and Social Care is having a little giggle.
With the health service allegedly gearing up to face a new surge of Covid-19 infections, people who are likely to be extremely vulnerable to it are being told they don’t have to ‘shield’ from April 1.
This means clinically vulnerable people won’t have to stay at home and avoid all contact with other people any more.
In fairness, they are still being advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people.
This Writer’s own family members in Bristol have been shielding, and I would advise them to continue doing so, as much as possible – for a very simple reason.
They were told to shield at a time when hospitals were in danger of being overwhelmed by Covid-19 admissions; the concern at the time was for the health service, rather than for people who were clinically vulnerable.
Now, hospital admissions are falling as the number of Covid-19 cases drops.
So shielding is ending, not because vulnerable people are now safe, but because hospitals will be better-able to cope with them.
And we should take note that the official advice is that shielding is being “paused” – not ended. It may be reintroduced. If so, then clinically vulnerable people should not be encouraged to think they are safe.
Yes, people who have been shielding have had priority access to vaccination, but that just means they are more likely to have had their first injection.
They won’t be fully-immunised until after they’ve had their second jab – and it has been suggested that the longer delay between injections has created a vulnerability to variant strains of Covid-19.
And the government is warning that people coming out to enjoy the current hot weather have not been social distancing, meaning they are more likely to contract the virus. The same government is inviting clinically vulnerable people to mix in with those people.
So This Writer is led to question the purpose behind this change.
Is it really to give people who have been stuck at home for more than a year a chance to stretch their legs again?
Or is it to give the virus a chance to wipe out a few more “useless eaters”?
Wednesday is the last day millions of the most clinically vulnerable people in England and Wales are told to shield.
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