Thousands of people in Windsor and Maidenhead “should not gather indoors” when restrictions ease
Thousands of vulnerable Windsor and Maidenhead residents are still advised not to meet friends and family indoors from next week, despite the end of coronavirus lockdown rules.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people – who were told to protect themselves from March of last year until just a few months ago – received new guidance from the government ahead of ‘Freedom Day’, which consists of to avoid the unvaccinated and to continue to meet people outside.
The disability equality charity Scope said while many people identified as vulnerable during the pandemic are anxiously awaiting the opening of the country, many are still “extremely concerned.”
NHS Digital figures show 7,965 patients in Windsor and Maidenhead were classified as clinically extremely vulnerable as of July 6.
Of these, 20% were aged 80 to 89 – the highest proportion of any age group.
There were also 90 children on the list, who will undergo this new direction, along with 840 other patients aged 90 and over.
Although social distancing restrictions end on Monday, July 19, 3.8 million clinically extremely vulnerable people across England have received separate counseling.
He suggests they should meet other people outdoors whenever possible to reduce the risk of airborne transmission and ensure indoor spaces are well ventilated.
Other suggested steps include “checking to see if you and those you meet have been vaccinated,” as well as asking friends and family for a lateral flow test before visiting you.
Although they are advised to follow the guidelines that apply to the rest of the population for shopping, they may still wish to do so at “quieter hours”, depending on the guidelines.
Louise Rubin, Scope’s policy and campaign manager, said those affected feel they are alone, have to rely on the responsibility of others and lack the support to keep them safe.
She asked why the government was withdrawing life-saving aid after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the pandemic was not over.
Ms Rubin added: “The people most at risk have no concrete or consistent protection at work. The priority slots of supermarkets have been eliminated. The leave must end.
“This advice essentially asks people to protect themselves, without offering even the minimal support that has been available throughout the pandemic.”
Steven McIntosh, executive director of advocacy and communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, said many people with cancer were “desperately worried” about how safe they would stay.
The most common reason the residents of Windsor and Maidenhead have been classified as vulnerable is because they have been identified by a University of Oxford tool that assesses several factors to determine if a person is at risk.
This applied to 45% of patients in the region, for whom a reason was provided, and was followed by those with breathing problems resulting in breathing difficulties (13%).
New figures from the Office for National Statistics for June 21 and 26 show that 29% of clinically extremely vulnerable people across England continued to self-isolate, despite the easing of protection guidelines in April.
Only 37% said they felt comfortable or very comfortable going to reception, cultural or educational establishments, compared to 70% of going to a hospital or doctor’s office.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said the most effective form of protection is vaccination.
He added: “By July 19, all people aged 40 and over, as well as those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, will have been offered their second dose.”