Covid-19 restrictions

From 17 May, England moved into stage 3 of the Prime Ministers roadmap out of lockdown. Updated advice is now in place.

More information on current restrictions and guidelines is available on the government website.

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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. This includes those people who have been identified by the NHS as being clinically extremely vulnerable and those identified through the Covid-19 Population Risk Assessment.

Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves.

  • Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a Covid-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP.
  • You should continue to maintain social distancing when both indoors and outdoors. However, you do not need to socially distance from members of your household or support bubble.
  • You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so with people from outside your household, subject to the wider rules on social contact.
  • You are advised to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, you are no longer advised not to attend the workplace. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace
  • The Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 30 September. You may continue to be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, providing your employer agrees. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has also been extended until 30 September.
  • From 1 April 2021, you are no longer eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the basis of being advised to shield, given the lifting of shielding measures nationally.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should return to their school or other educational setting.
  • 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).

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).
  • When it is allowed to meet people from outside your household or support bubble indoors, keep the area well ventilated with fresh air, for example by opening a window.

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.