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Around 2.2 million people are currently on the list in England, which will expand to almost four million when the additional people are included.
We look at what’s changed.
A new tool has been used by scientists to identify people who are at an increased risk of death or serious illness if they catch coronavirus.
This has been introduced because as the pandemic has progressed, experts have found that some people are at higher risk than others because they fall under multiple risk factors.
Using medical records, the new tool assesses which people are at higher risk based on multiple factors including age, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), other health conditions and also postcode, which is indicative of levels of deprivation.
It has identified an additional 1.7 million people in England who will be sent a letter advising them to shield to keep themselves safe.
The predictive risk model was developed by researchers led by scientists at Oxford University.
People who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable have been told to shield.
The current shielding list includes people with single risk factors such as those with various cancers, people on immunosuppression drugs or those with severe respiratory conditions.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable have been told they should stay at home as much as possible.
Contact with people outside of their household should be kept to a minimum and busy areas should be avoided.
People who are shielding can still go outside for exercise or to attend health appointments, but they should work from home and if this is not possible then they should not attend work for the time being.
More than 800,000 of the people newly added to the shielding list are between 19 and 69 years old and will now be prioritised for a vaccination, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.
The other 900,000 people on the list are over 70 and will have already been offered their jab, the Government said.
Shielding was first put in place last March, and “paused” in August.
In January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said those considered clinically extremely vulnerable were advised to begin shielding again.
Officials will be advising that shielding continues until March 31, according to Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England.
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