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If you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)

If you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are extra steps you're advised to take to protect yourself.

These extra steps are called shielding.


This advice is for people who have received a letter from the NHS saying they're at high risk.

If you're not sure whether you're at high risk, see who's at higher risk from coronavirus.

How to protect yourself if you're at high risk

It's currently recommended you follow this advice until at least the end of June 2020.


  • stay at home at all times – do not leave your home to buy food, collect medicine or exercise

  • stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in your home as much as possible

  • get food and medicine delivered and left outside your door – ask friends and family to help or register to get coronavirus support on GOV.UK if you need it

  • prepare a hospital bag, including a list of the medicines you're taking, in case you need to go into hospital

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • make sure anyone who comes into your home washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • clean objects and surfaces you touch often (such as door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products

  • clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched


  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family, unless they're providing essential care

  • do not stop taking any prescription medicines without speaking to your doctor


If you live with someone who is at high risk, see our advice about what to do if you live with someone who is at high risk from coronavirus.

Get help and support

If you've been told you're at high risk from coronavirus, you can get help with things like getting food, medicines and other things you need.

Government support

You can either:

It's a good idea to do this even if you do not need support right now.

You'll need your NHS number to register. You can find this on any letter you receive from the NHS or on your prescriptions.

NHS volunteer

You can also get help from an NHS volunteer.

Call 0808 196 3646 (open 8am to 8pm) to get help from NHS Volunteer Responders.

How to look after your health and wellbeing

Staying at home and reducing contact with other people can be difficult.

There are things you can try to help you stay well:

  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
  • spend time doing things you enjoy, such as reading, cooking, indoor hobbies, listening to the radio or watching TV
  • do light exercise at home
  • spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air
  • spend time in your garden or on your doorstep, if possible, but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day if you’re indoors most of the day – this is to keep your bones and muscles healthy

For more advice about looking after your mental wellbeing while you're at home, see:

Page last reviewed: 27 May 2020
Next review due: 3 June 2020