This is the difference between being at high risk and extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 and what it means for isolating
The UK Government has ordered families across the nation to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives as the coronavirus crisis continues.
And while everyone is at risk of contracting the virus and becoming seriously ill if they do have it, the risk is that much higher for two sets of people who have been placed into certain groups by the NHS.
There are two levels of higher risk groups; named ‘high risk’ and ‘extremely vulnerable’ (or very high risk).
If a person is high risk, they are urged to adhere to the Government’s advice to stay home, leaving only to shop for essential items like food or medicines.
If classed as extremely vulnerable, a person is advised to take extra steps to protect themselves for the duration of the outbreak – including not leaving home for any reason.
Who is in the extremely vulnerable group and what do they have to do?
If you’ve been identified as an extremely vulnerable person, you should have received a letter from the NHS, explaining what extra steps you need to take.
These extra steps are called ‘shielding’ and are currently in place until the end of June – or 12 weeks from the date on your letter.
They must also stay two metres apart from those they live with, where possible, and ensure they prepare a bag in case they need to go into hospital.
Friends and family are not permitted to visit you at home, unless they are providing essential care.
Those in the extremely vulnerable group include people who;
*Have had an organ transplant
*Are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer
*Are having an intense course of radiotherapy for lung cancer
*Are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system
*Have blood or bone marrow cancer
*Have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past six months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
*Have been told by a doctor that you have a severe lung condition – such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD
*Have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections – such as SCID or sickle cell
*Are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections
*Have a serious heart condition and you're pregnant
Who is in the high risk group and what do they have to do?
There are also a number of people who may be at higher risk from coronavirus than the average person.
They are urged to strictly follow the advice about staying at home and obeying social distancing – leaving the house only for essential shopping.
Those in the high risk group include people who;
*Are 70 or older
*Have a learning disability
*Have a lung condition that's not severe
*Have heart disease
*Have high blood pressure
*Have chronic kidney disease
*Have liver disease
*Have a condition affecting your brain or nerves – including Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral palsy
*Have a problem with your spleen or have had your spleen removed
*Have a condition that means you have a high risk of getting infections – such as HIV, lupus or scleroderma
*Are taking medicine that can affect your immune system
*Are very obese with a BMI of 40 or above
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