Vulnerable warned to avoid indoor spaces and unvaccinated people all summer

Clinically extremely vulnerable people will be urged to find ventilated space (Image: Getty Images)

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People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should avoid indoor spaces and people who have not been jabbed this summer, according to new Covid guidance.

Official advice for more than two people categorised as vulnerable will see them effectively excluded from society when laws on Covid curbs, including mandatory face masks, are dropped on July 19.

The move was branded “a survival of the fittest policy" which would see those most at risk "thrown to the wolves".

Some 3.7 million people are believed to be in this group, which includes people with some kinds of cancer and respiratory diseases.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out new guidance in the Commons as he confirmed that the remaining lockdown restrictions would be lifted in England on July 19.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid
(Image: PA)

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New documents published on Monday night advise the vulnerable to meet outdoors or to look for ventilated places.

People are also asked to give careful thought to meeting anyone who has not been vaccinated, with the guidance stating: "Consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others."

The guidance also suggests asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting.

The most vulnerable are also advised to shop or visit the pharmacy at quieter times of day.

In the Commons on Monday, SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford blasted the Health Secretary, saying: “As vulnerable people can’t count on others wearing masks, for them July 19 all not be Freedom Day but the exact opposite.”

Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson also pressed Mr Javid, saying: “They and many clinically vulnerable people, such as pregnant women, are living in fear of what living with Covid means for them.”

She added: “Is he pursuing a survival of the fittest policy where the most vulnerable will be thrown to the wolves?”

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Mr Javid defended the move but said the policy would be "kept under review".

He said the Government was publishing a "safe and gradual" and stressing the need for more "personal responsibility".

Mr Javid went on: "It includes details of how we will encourage businesses and large events to use certification in high-risk settings to limit the risk of spreading the infection, how we will use guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable and details of a review we will be conducting in September to assess our preparedness for autumn and winter."

It comes as the Government confirmed that people would be "expected", although not legally required, to continue to wear face masks in enclosed spaces, such as trains.

The apparent U-turn over guidance came after some suggested they would be ditching face coverings and making them a "personal choice".

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The average number of daily cases is over 26,000 and has doubled over the last 11 days, Mr Javid said, adding they could reach as high as 100,000 this summer.

He said while hospitalisations would also rise, the Government would "stay vigilant" and monitor the prevalence and impact of Long Covid, amid concern young, unvaccinated people would be hit.

But he said "this is the right time to get our nation closer to normal life" and would move toward Step 4 of the roadmap.

He said the "wall" of protection the vaccine offered meant the country could withstand the summer wave.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “The Secretary of State has taken a high risk, indeed fatalistic, approach. Trying to guess what might happen in the winter, deciding that infections are going up anyway.

“Instead of caution he is putting his foot down the on the accelerator while throwing the seat belt off."

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