Shielding in Scotland: what is the new government guidance for vulnerable people under Nicola Sturgeon’s five-tier lockdown plan?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new level-based system of coronavirus restrictions for Scotland which will come into effect on 2 November

There will be five levels of restrictions, with the lowest seeing very little disruption to everyday life, and the highest tier facing a level of measures not seen since March.

Ms Sturgeon has also laid out a new set of guidance for the most vulnerable.

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Here’s what you should know.

Shielding in Scotland: what is the new government guidance for vulnerable people under Nicola Sturgeon’s five-tier lockdown plan? (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Shielding in Scotland: what is the new government guidance for vulnerable people under Nicola Sturgeon’s five-tier lockdown plan? (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

What are the rules for those who are shielding?

People who were shielding until the end of July are not being told to do so again now, but there is extra advisory guidance for these people, to go alongside the specific measures at each level.

These people should follow the baseline restrictions at a minimum, as well as extra advice on activities such as shopping, work and childcare.

People who were previously shielding will receive a letter from the chief medical officer in the coming days.

The “Strategic Framework” says that people who were previously shielding will not be asked to distance from people within their household or to stop taking outdoor exercise.

It also provides a set of advice specific to each level.

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How Will Scotland’s new five-tier lockdown system work?

Level 0 & 1

In areas at level 0 or level 1, vulnerable people should follow the general guidelines when it comes to contact with other people, shopping and childcare.

In terms of work, those who are medically vulnerable but unable to work from home should ensure their employer has made “the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you”.

The guidance also states that you can discuss getting a fit note with your doctor if you feel unsafe.

Level 2

At level two, you should reduce the number of people or households you have in-person contact with and avoid 1-metre zones.

The guidance on other issues for Level 2 is the same as Level 0 & Level 1

Level 3

At level 3 people should avoid indoor public spaces and limit meeting people outside their own household.

People should limit the number of times they go shopping and try to shop at quiet times if possible when at level four.

At this level parents should also discuss with their doctor whether children should keep attending school.

Level 4

At the highest level of restrictions, vulnerable people should limit contact with people outside their households, avoid public transport and limit shopping trips as much as possible.

At level four the Chief Medical officer will be issuing an automatic two week fit note for anyone on the shielding list.

Children on the shielding list should not attend school or formal childcare in level 4.