DESPITE the lifting of restrictions and the rise in numbers of coronavirus cases, the chief medical officer for Wales has indicated he will not be advising people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to shield at this time.

Advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable to follow shielding measures was paused on April 1 and since that time those on the shielding patient list have been advised that they should follow the same rules as other citizens in Wales, however they should take extra care to minimise their risk of exposure.

The chief medical officer is keen to ensure that there is a balance between the risk of harm from coronavirus with the risk of harm to an individual’s mental health.

There will be some exceptions – where patients have received specific advice to shield themselves by their own clinician. They should continue to follow this personalised advice.

Despite not reintroducing the advice to follow shielding measures, the chief medical officer says he recognises some people in this group will feel concerned at seeing the rising number of cases.

There are people who are particularly vulnerable who may feel concerned about the level of response to the vaccine in their particular cases because of a known weakened immune system. There may be other people who have been unable to take the vaccine due to their medical condition.

To provide some reassurance, the chief medical officer will be writing to all those on the shielding patient list. The letter includes information about vaccine effectiveness and encourages those who have not yet taken up the offer to do so. It also emphasises the importance of receiving both doses.

In the letter, he writes: "I am continuing to advise everyone on the Shielding Patient List that it is not necessary to follow shielding measures at this time and I do not expect to need to advise shielding again in the future.

"I would encourage everyone to get their vaccine."

In addition the letter provides advice on how to minimise personal risk and highlights the measures the Welsh Government will be retaining as legal requirements at level 0 - level 0 is expected to start on August 7 if conditions are favourable.

Whilst the chief medical officer for Wales believes he does not expect to have to reintroduce measures again in the future, the government is maintaining the shielding patient list.

The chief medical officers of the four UK nations are keeping the shielding list under review, and it may be possible that in future some conditions or groups may be removed from the shielding list.

Where inclusion on the list or list status changes, those concerned will be written to.