FILE PHOTO: An elderly woman with a dog is seen near the beach at Barton on Sea, Hampshire as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Barton on Sea, Britain, April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs
LONDON (Reuters) – The more than 2 million people who have been “shielding” from COVID-19 in England because they are deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable will be allowed to spend time outdoors from Monday for the first time in 10 weeks.
The government said on Saturday that the 2.2 million will be able to go outside with members of their household, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. Those who live alone can meet outside with one other person from another household.
“I do not underestimate just how difficult it has been for you, staying at home for the last 10 weeks, and I want to pay tribute to your resilience,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Those shielding remain at risk however and the government said they should only leave the house once a day, not go to work or the shops and should avoid crowded places where they cannot social distance.
Support provided to those with serious medical complications, such as the delivery of food, medicines and phone calls, will continue.
Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Christina Fincher