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Vulnerable ‘will not be abandoned’ when COVID-19 shielding changes begin, says Council

With the Government’s changes to its shielding guidance beginning to come into effect next week, Sefton Council is reminding local people that local support and help will still be available for the most vulnerable.

From Monday 6 July, the guidance says that people who are shielding can meet in groups of up to six people from outside their household so long as it’s outdoors with social distancing.

And then, from Saturday 1 August, the Government plans to tell people currently shielding that they no longer need to do so. They are expected to be told they can go to work if they cannot work from home and that they can visit shops and places of worship, while maintaining rigorous social distancing.

While the support being provided for vulnerable people through the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme will continue beyond the end of July, deliveries of food and medicine boxes organised through National Shielding Service will end at the start of August.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:

“Some people who are currently shielding because they are vulnerable or at risk may have been concerned at the Government’s announcement of these changes.

“During the coronavirus pandemic Sefton Council has made around 32,500 welfare telephone calls to over 20,000 people who are shielding across the Borough and has delivered almost 900 food parcels.

“In the next few weeks our teams will be calling all of those who currently receive welfare check calls to discuss whether they are likely to have needs beyond the end of July and if they do, how their support can be provided through our invaluable local community and voluntary sector services.

“We want to reassure those and any other vulnerable people across our Borough that we will not abandon them.”

If anyone is concerned about future arrangements, they can also Sefton Council’s Contact Centre team are on 0345 140 0845 or online via www.sefton.gov.uk. To arrange support from NHS responders, people should call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm. More information is available at www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk

The Council is also encouraging those residents who don’t require support to consider offering support to their neighbours and communities by volunteering through Sefton CVS at https://volunteeringsefton.org.uk.

With the Government’s wider lifting of restrictions coming into effect this weekend, Sefton Council is also reminding residents and visitors of the continued importance of maintaining social distance, of thorough handwashing and of going for a test if they suspect they have the symptoms of COVID-19.

It is also stressing how important it is for anyone contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus to register by visiting https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk or calling 119.

Cllr Moncur added:

“To ensure people don’t the spread of coronavirus to their family and friends and across Sefton, it is really important they follow the NHS guidance about distancing and hand washing and that they participate fully in the Test and Trace process.

“If they contact you, Test and Trace staff don’t care where you’ve been, who you’ve been with and what you’ve been doing. They just want to protect you and other people and prevent the ongoing spread of this deadly virus.”