Nicola Sturgeon has announced the next wave of lockdown restrictions to be eased as the threat of coronavirus in Scotland continues to decrease.
This is not a move to Phase 4 of the country’s route-map, but a moved to Phase 3 of the route map for moving out of lockdown on 9 July.
But what do the new lockdown rules mean for those who were previously advised to “shield”?
Here’s everything you need to know:
What is shielding?
Shielding is a means of protecting society's "extremely vulnerable" from contracting Covid-19.
Those categorised as vulnerable because of an underlying health condition were advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day they received a letter from their GP practice or specialist.
Leaving the house was strongly advised against, even to go out for shopping, leisure or travel or to pick up food and medication deliveries.
What do the changes mean for those who are shielding?
Shielding is being paused in Scotland from Saturday 1 August.
It’s perhaps the biggest announcement made within Sturgeon’s new package of measures.
When can I stop shielding?
What it means, is that people who were currently shielding should follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland. To stay safe, you should strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.
This means you should:
- wear a face covering
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2m away from other people
- self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms
For more information on shielding in Scotland, head to the Scottish government's website
Could shielding return?
The infection rate in Scotland may rise as well as fall in the coming months, but the Scottish Government say “small changes will not affect” the shielding advice, although it will be kept “under constant review.”
“If we see an increase in infection rates that gives us concern, we may ask you to take extra steps again to stay safe. If so, we’ll let you know by letter and through the SMS Shielding Service.”