The situation is changing daily, as are updates from the Government. You can find out the latest Government advice by regularly checking in on www.gov.uk or here.

UPDATE: National measures in Wales from 9 November

On Monday 9 November, the short-term 'firebreak' measures in Wales came to an end. The Welsh Government currently advise that shielding measures will not be put into place.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to minimise contact with other people, maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly and continue to work from home, wherever possible. More information can be found here.

National lockdown measures in England - 5 November to 2 December

On Friday 30 October, the Government announced that national lockdown measures will come into force in England for a four-week period between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December. While the national shielding programme remains paused, the government guidelines for protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable remain in force. During this time, you should:

Stay at home as much as possible

While full shielding measures have not been implemented, you should stay at home as much as possible. Only leave your home for essential reasons, such as for medical appointments or to buy essential goods, where no other options are available.

Work from home wherever possible

The Government currently advises that people who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not go to their place of work, and should work from home. If this is not possible, you may be eligible for SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) or ESA (Employment Support Allowance).

Minimise contact with other people

Keep contact with other people to a minimum. If possible, keep your distance, wear a face covering and wash your hands regularly.

Outdoor exercise is permitted

If you feel comfortable doing so, a change of scenery and some fresh air can be beneficial for your mental well-being.

Full information about the restrictions and guidelines which apply to England is available here.

LATEST ON SHIELDING

Government’s guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 can be found here.

This advice was updated on 15 October to be less restrictive than previously, and with advice to check the local COVID alert level in your area. 

 

REGIONAL ADVICE ON SHIELDING AND PROTECTION MEASURES

From Saturday 1 August the Government ‘paused’ the national shielding programme for people who are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

You can now check the COVID alert level in your local area here, and you should then follow the advice detailed fro that alert level here.

 

WHO IS "EXTREMELY VULNERABLE"?

You are likely to be assessed as extremely vulnerable if you are on any kind of immunosuppression therapy. If you are an aplastic anaemia patient, we strongly recommend that you speak to your clinicians - they will be expecting your questions and will know exactly what to recommend for your individual circumstances. 

MENTAL WELL-BEING

The AAT has put new services in place to support you. If you are feeling anxious and concerned about your mental health, you do not have to struggle with this alone.

We are working with Maggies to deliver a series of Wellbeing Webinars designed to give you useful tools and advice to protect your mental health.

Wellbeing Wednesday is a weekly online support group, delivered by Lesley from Maggie's. You can join in any time you like for a supportive chat with other people in similar situations, led by an expert. 

Our new Support Manager, Sam, is here to help - you can chat to him in our Facebook group, or call our hotline on +44 (0) 300 102 3202.

A compilation of helpful free online resources to help you cope with the Coronavirus crisis, as recommended by the team of psychologists in the Department of Haematology, King's College Hospital, London - here.

FINANCIAL HELP

There is some financial support available to stem cell transplant patients from Anthony Nolan, who as part of their Grants service, are now making emergency funds available to help cover the cost of coronavirus.

COVID Emergency Patient Fund

  • Have you had to stop working to protect yourself from coronavirus?
  • Or are you spending more on food, technology or cleaning products while ‘shielding’ in isolation?
  • Do you have to pay more to travel further for your follow-up appointments during the pandemic?

One-off grants of up to £250 are now available to stem cell transplant patients for expenses which have a direct link to coronavirus.

Applying is easy: complete an online form and email it back to Anthony Nolan, including the contact details of a healthcare professional from your transplant team.

Find out whether you’re eligible and apply here: www.anthonynolan.org/grants

If you’d like further info about the COVID Emergency Patient Fund, email AN at [email protected] or call on 0303 303 0303.

SUPPORT IF YOU'RE SHIELDING

750,000 volunteers have volunteered to take part in the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme - to help the most vulnerable.
The volunteers can help with tasks such as collecting shopping and prescribed medicines or driving patients to medical appointments.
This service is available for people who are at high risk from coronavirus where no local support is available, for example: if they have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’; if they are over 70 and have underlying health conditions; or if they are self-isolating and you consider them to be especially vulnerable.
We are being encouraged to increase these referrals. So if you need help - please get in touch - [email protected]. As a referring organisation, we'll need your contact details, address and details on the type of support you need.

ADVICE

  • Parents will find it useful to catch up on our webinar Q&A with Dr Sujith Samarasinghe: The impact of Covid-19 on children with aplastic anaemia, recorded on 1 August, which covers specific advice on whether it is safe for children to return to school. 
  • The latest guidance document produced by NICE for children and young people who are immunocompromised, published on 1 May 2020 - here
  • The latest advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on stem cell transplantation, 1.4.2020 - here
  • Advice from King's College Hospital Haematology Team for aplastic anaemia patients, 27.3.2020 - here.
  • Advice for children and young people with haematology and oncology diagnoses at Great Ormond Street Hospital - here.
  • Advice for patients (transplant and CAR T) from Department of Clinical Haematology, King's College Hospital - here.
  • The latest advice from Public Health England for shielding the most vulnerable - here.

The latest advice for Bone Marrow Transplant Patients:

  • The latest guidance from the UK/Ireland Paediatric BMT Group: GUIDELINES FOR COVID19 IN PAED HSCT PATIENTS is available here
  • The latest guidance from the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy for BMT adult patients is available here

For more information about COVID-19 and how to reduce the risk of infection, you can consult the NHS website.