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Advice for people at high risk from coronavirus (shielding)

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


This advice is for people in England who have received a letter saying they're clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you're not sure if this applies to you, see who's at higher risk from coronavirus.

Changes to advice

Currently, you should stay at home as much as possible and follow the advice on this page.

From 2 December, the advice for you will depend on the level of risk in your area. Information about this will be available soon.


You should work from home if you can. Your employer should support you to do this.

If you cannot work from home, you're advised not to go to work. You will get a letter advising you to stay at home. You can use this letter as proof you're unable to go to work.

If you're unable to work, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.

Anyone you live with who is not at high risk from coronavirus can continue to go to work if they cannot work from home.


More information and advice about work

You can also get advice from Acas. Call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).


The risk of children becoming seriously ill from coronavirus is very low. Most children who were previously thought to be at high risk from coronavirus do not need to stay off school.

Your child is only advised to stay off school if their doctor feels they're still at high risk of getting seriously ill. Check with your child's specialist or GP if you're not sure.

If your child is advised to stay off school, the school will make sure they can continue their education at home.

If you're at high risk from coronavirus, your children should go to school unless a doctor says they're also at high risk.

Getting food and medicine

You're advised not to go to shops or pharmacies.

Instead try to:

  • shop online
  • ask family or friends to collect shopping for you
  • get help with food and medicine deliveries from an NHS volunteer – call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to get help from NHS Volunteer Responders

Get help and support

You may be able to:

  • get access to priority supermarket deliveries
  • find out about any local support that's available

Get support if you're at high risk from coronavirus on GOV.UK

How to protect yourself and others


  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people – including people you live with and people in your support bubble

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

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

  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people, such as in hospitals


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Support bubbles

If you live alone or you're a single parent who lives only with your children, you can meet with 1 other household. This is called a support bubble.

Find out more about making a support bubble with another household on GOV.UK.

Medical help and appointments

It can be hard to know what to do if you're unwell or need to use the NHS.

It's important to:

  • get medical help if you think you need it
  • keep any appointments or procedures you have booked – unless you're told not to go
  • go to hospital if you’re advised to

NHS services have made changes to make sure it's safe for you to be seen during coronavirus. There are also ways to get medical help and prescriptions online or over the phone.

Find out more about using the NHS during coronavirus.

Page last reviewed: 24 November 2020
Next review due: 1 December 2020