Along with the wider easing of coronavirus restrictions, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have been shielding for the past 10 weeks have been told they can now leave their homes in England and Wales. What does this mean if you are living with a brain tumour?
We know that for some of you not much changed when we went into lockdown; you have been used to protecting yourselves when your immune system has been compromised through treatment such as chemotherapy. As a community we already had developed a sense of resilience and resourcefulness and have been able to share so much with the wider community. This has been apparent through talking with so many of you on our webinars. (link in here??)
Here are some of the key questions around the updated guidance if you are shielding.
What is the new guidance?
Under the new guidelines, people shielding are now able to venture outdoors once per day, either with members of their household or one person from another household – as long as social distancing and strict hygiene is maintained.
There is no limit to the amount of time you can now spend outdoors, however it is advised that you avoid crowds or crowded areas (including private gatherings) and strictly avoid contact with others, especially if they are displaying symptoms of the virus such as a continuous cough or fever.
Who does the guidance apply to?
The shielding guidance applies to anyone who is considered clinically extremely vulnerable, as well as their family, friends and caregivers. With brain cancer, this would be people who are having a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or who are on a high dose of steroids.
What is the science behind the updated guidance?
The governments in England and Wales have said the change in guidance stems from the substantially lower level of COVID-19 transmission compared to when the lockdown was first introduced. However it isn’t clear what the scientific basis is for updating the guidelines, so there is some confusion caused by the sudden announcement.
When will the guidance be updated next?
The next review of shielding measures in England is scheduled to take place in the week beginning June 15, with regular reviews taking place alongside the review of social distancing measures for the wider population.
With reduced transmission rates, the science suggests that it is safer to venture out, particularly if you live somewhere that isn’t crowded. And for you, the benefits of fresh air and exercise may outweigh the new risks. However, you may also feel that this is a step too far, too soon, or that in your circumstances, it would be stressful to head out whilst trying to maintain safe physical distance. Ultimately it is up to you to assess the risks involved, and your appetite for risk.
Stay up to date with how Covid 19 is impacting on people living with a brain tumour here.