The NHS has identified that there are up to 1.5 million people who are extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus due to their medical status.
From this week, those identified will be contacted by letter and, where possible, text and advised to stay at home and avoid face to face contact for at least the next 12 weeks to protect themselves.
Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
The announcement and letter will cause concern for people with these conditions, and their families and friends, though many in this group are already taking sensible measures to protect themselves.
People will also be concerned about the practicalities of everyday life- how to get food, everyday household items, sanitary products and medicines. Many people will have family, friends and neighbours who will step in to help. But not everyone will have a support network for all, or part of, the isolation period. To provide that safety net the Government is setting up a local support system for those that cannot use friends and family to get their basic supplies.
People who have been identified as extremely medically vulnerable will be able to access this delivery package through a specific website and hotline. This will be delivered in partnership with Local Authorities, Local Resilience Forums, the food supplies and voluntary organisations.
There will be no charge for the standard box of supplies. Community pharmacies will ensure those in this group that need medicines will get them.