Covid-19 restrictions

A national lockdown is now in place to control the spread of Covid-19 as rates rapidly increase across London and the country.

Everyone must now stay at home, and only leave home for specific reasons. Full details of what you can and cannot do are available on the government’s website.

Remember, advice around Covid-19 can change quickly, so keep up to date with the latest information.


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Clinically extremely vulnerable

People with serious underlying health conditions who are most at risk of severe illness from coronavirus have previously been advised by the government to self-isolate (known as shielding).

Advice for residents in the shielding category

This update is for everyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.

A national lockdown is now in place in Tower Hamlets and the rest of the country to control the spread of Covid-19.

You will soon recieve a formal letter from the government that makes you eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment Support Allowance until 21 February 2021.

As a result shielding has been reintroduced across the country.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to follow the shielding guidance and advice below:

  • If you’re classed as being clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19, register on the National Shielding Support System to:
    • Get access to priority supermarket deliveries
    • Confirm whether you are likely to need additional support
    • Update your details


  • Do not meet with anyone you do not live with unless they are part of your support bubble. Try to stay 2 metres away from other people within your household.
  • Stay at home as much as possible and not to travel unless essential.
  • Do not attend work if you cannot work from home. You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA), and the formal shielding letter you receive will act as evidence.
  • Do not go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you (friends and family, or NHS Volunteer Responders).
  • Continue to go outside for exercise, but to avoid busy areas to minimise the chance of coming into close contact with others.
  • Do not go to a pharmacy. If friends and family are not able to collect your medicines for you, and you and/or the pharmacy are unable to arrange a volunteer, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery.
  • Continue to seek support from the NHS for your existing health conditions. You can access a range of NHS services from home (Health at Home).
  • Children who are still considered clinically extremely vulnerable after a discussion with their doctor should not attend school.

National guidance is available online if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable it remains extremely important that you follow public health advice.

  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, then use hand sanitiser.
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, in indoor hospitality unless seated to drink/eat and anywhere else it is difficult to socially distance.
  • keep a safe distance from other people outside your household (two metres where possible).

Book a test for Covid-19 if symptomatic by calling 119 or online. Symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • a high temperature
  • a new or continuous cough
  • a change or loss to your normal sense of taste or smell.

Support for vulnerable residents self-isolating

If you are worried about any aspect of your physical or mental health, or have questions about shielding advice, please speak to your GP who is looking forward to talking to you. Please ring your practice, or if you are having difficulties using a phone yourself ask a family member to call on your behalf.


If you are a Tower Hamlets resident that was in the shielding category and need support with food shopping, collection of medication or Personal Protective Equipment, help is available through our dedicated phoneline.

The phoneline can also be used for advice on finance and support with social isolation.

Online self-isolation form

People who were shielding and need help can still use our online self-isolation form to let us know about support they need.

Once you have completed the form, someone from the council will be in contact to discuss your needs.

Working with voluntary and community sector

We are also working closely with the voluntary and community sector in Tower Hamlets to provide a wider offer, including befriending services.

See a full list of local support organisations with contact details.