Half of the clinically extremely vulnerable population in England continuing to shield despite no longer needing to

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<p>Some 84 per cent reported being aware that Government advice to shield had been paused</p> (PA)

Some 84 per cent reported being aware that Government advice to shield had been paused

(PA)

Half of the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people in England continued to shield despite Government advice that they no longer needed to, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that 50 per cent of CEV people said they were continuing to shield when asked between April 26 and May 1.

But an ONS analysis, published on Friday, found that 84 per cent reported being aware that Government advice to shield had been paused and that two-thirds (67 per cent) had received two doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Tim Gibbs, head of the public services analysis team at the ONS, said: "Since April 1 2021, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people have been advised that they no longer need to shield to protect themselves from Covid-19.

"Our results today show that although Government advice to shield has paused, half of those identified as CEV reported continuing to shield.

"We’ve recently seen lockdown restrictions ease significantly, this is great to see, however, it’s critical that we continue to monitor the impact of these changes on groups such as the clinically extremely vulnerable."

The ONS added that approximately 420,000 of CEV people (11 per cent) were estimated to have not left the house in the last seven days.

There are a total of 3.7 million people in England identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable to severe impact from Covid-19, the ONS said.

Shielding advice was paused from April 1, although CEV people were issued precautionary guidance and still had to follow the national restrictions.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “Shielding has always been an advisory measure to safeguard those who are the most clinically vulnerable in our communities.

“We recognise how difficult this period has been for so many and the impact it has had on people’s wellbeing.

“With the prevalence of the virus in the community continuing to decrease now is the right time for people to start thinking about easing up on these more rigid guidelines.

“If you have been shielding, we strongly urge you to take extra precautions following 1 April to keep yourself as safe as possible, such as continuing to observe social distancing and working from home.

“We will continue to monitor all of the evidence and adjust this advice should there be any changes in infection rates.”

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