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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), 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.

From 1 August 2020, people in England who are at high risk from coronavirus will no longer be advised to shield.

See GOV.UK: guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus.

How to protect yourself if you're at high risk


  • stay at home as much as possible

  • try to stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with when outside your home

  • only meet other people outdoors, in groups of up to 6 – try to stay 2 metres away from each other at all times

  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

  • 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

  • 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


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

  • do not go into other people's homes – except to use the toilet or get to their garden

  • do not share or pass things to people you do not live with, including food and drinks

  • do not go into any other indoor places, such as shops

Support bubbles

If you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children, you can meet with 1 other household without staying 2 metres away from them.

This is called a support bubble.

Find out more about meeting people from outside your household on GOV.UK.

If you live in Leicester

If you're shielding and you live in Leicester:

  • avoid meeting people you do not live with (or only meet with 1 other person, ideally the same person each time)
  • do not form a support bubble
  • try to stay 2 metres away from other people, including anyone you live with

See Leicester City Council: coronavirus advice.

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 or outside
  • spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air
  • spend time outdoors, 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: 6 July 2020
Next review due: 13 July 2020