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The Government has announced that, from Monday 6th July, the 2.2 million people shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to six people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household.

From Saturday 1st August the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield.

Responding, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“The easing of shielding guidance will be welcomed by many carers and their families but for others it will also be a time of great anxiety. Therefore it is vital that the Government gets easing right.

“The guidance states that those who have been shielding will be able to form a ‘support bubble’ but misses out a particular group of carers that would most benefit from one – those who have been caring for a shielding adult with significant disabilities or a serious illness.

"After months of caring round the clock, without any outside support from family or care and support services, this group of carers are desperate to be able to form a bubble with another household, just to get a break. Carers UK has consistently heard from carers reporting that their health and wellbeing is deteriorating along with that of the person they care for,  and many are at the point of burn out.  Government must ensure this group of carers can access support bubbles so that they can start to get the breaks they need.

“It is absolutely imperative that care and support services are reinstated as soon as possible. A significant proportion of carers are unable to access the same level of support that they had pre-pandemic and so as well as not being able to get a break, will not be able to return to work. For those carers who are currently furloughed because they are caring for someone who is shielding, they will have questions about returning to work that must be answered.

“Support for carers to get food through supermarket and volunteer schemes must continue, and it is vital that both national and local government concentrate on unpaid carers’ wellbeing as a matter of urgency.”

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