Health Minister confirms closure of Covid-19 Shielding List
Wales’ Health Minister has confirmed the Shielding Patient list created at the start of the Covid pandemic will close at the end of the month.
Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, said in a written statement that she has accepted the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, that the time is right to end the shielding programme.
The list was created in March 2020 to protect people at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and as a result needed to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales is writing to everyone on the Shielding Patient List to inform them of the lists closure.
In the statement announcing the decisions, the minister wrote: “Thanks to our very high vaccination rates and as levels of transmission fall in Wales, we are now preparing to move beyond the emergency response to the pandemic and to live safely with coronavirus in line with our new long-term plan.”
“Almost two years have passed since the list was developed and we have learned a lot about the virus since then.
“Vaccination has changed the course of the pandemic and has severely weakened the link between coronavirus and serious illness and we now have access to new treatments which can also prevent serious illness, especially for people who are clinically vulnerable.”
“We are working with supermarkets, water companies and local authorities to bring the sharing of Shielding Patient List data to an end, and to ensure it is securely deleted. This is due to end by 31 March 2022.”
Shielding advice was initially paused on 1 April 2021 and since then, everyone on the Shielding Patient List has been advised to follow the same advice as the general population.
In July last year Wales’ Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton said shielding measures were unnecessary and it was “unlikely” they would be brought back in the future.
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