People who are coming out of ‘shielding’ today (Thursday 1 April) are being urged to take care and stay safe from coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead.

Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health John Denley and Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body, have issued a joint message to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable as the advice to shield ends.

They said: "You will by now have received a letter from the Government explaining that you are no longer advised to shield. This change of advice could be quite daunting, and we want you to know you can access any support you might need.

"We are beginning to move out of national lockdown now, but Covid-19 hasn’t gone away. Even though you no longer need to follow shielding advice, as a clinically extremely vulnerable person it is recommended that you take precautions to protect yourself. You should also continue to follow the national restrictions.

"Most importantly, if you have not yet had your coronavirus vaccination you are strongly advised to have it. The vaccine has been proved to be highly effective and is the best protection we have against serious illness from coronavirus."

Just over 8 out of 10 clinically extremely vulnerable people in Wolverhampton have now had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, significantly reducing their chances of getting severe symptoms from the virus. Some people may have been hesitant about booking their vaccine because of shielding advice; if so they are advised to contact their GP or call 119 to book their appointment as soon as possible.

The City of Wolverhampton Council and CCG have written to around 20,000 people who are no longer required to shield. The letter, which will be landing on doormats in the next few days, contains a wealth of information about the help and support which is available locally to people as they come out of shielding.

Latest figures show there were 56 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 29 March. That means 147 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.