New lockdowns and changes in restrictions – what does this mean for people with pancreatic cancer?

Specialist Nurse, Nicci explains what the new coronavirus restrictions introduced at the end of October and beginning of November mean for people with pancreatic cancer.

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5 November 2020

In this blog, I’ll explain what the new coronavirus restrictions introduced at the end of October and beginning of November mean for people with pancreatic cancer.

First of all, shielding is still paused across the UK, and people who were shielding are advised to very carefully follow the same advice as for everyone else. We know that the talk in the media about rising infection rates of coronavirus can be worrying. You can read about how to keep yourself safe on our coronavirus hub. And don’t forget that you can contact myself or one of our specialist nurses on our free Support Line on 0808 801 0707 or email us.

The governments in the four UK nations have all introduced slightly different measures, which aim to bring down the infection rate and reduce the spread of coronavirus. It’s important that you follow the guidance for where you live.

In England

The government has introduced a national lockdown from 5 November, which will be reviewed on 2 December. This means that everyone should stay at home as much as possible. There is some specific guidance for people who were previously shielding.

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • You can go outside for exercise, but keep contact with others to a minimum and avoid busy areas.
  • When you do go out carefully maintain social distancing, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands when you get back.
  • You can continue to meet people in your support bubble. You can also meet with one person you don’t live with – as long as you stay outside and carefully follow the social distancing guidance.
  • You should try to stay 2 metres away from people you live with, especially if they have symptoms of coronavirus or have been told to self-isolate.
  • It’s important that you continue going to medical appointments – the NHS is still open.
  • Work from home if you can. If you can’t work from home, you shouldn’t go to work. Speak to your employer – they may be able to furlough you. You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) ) or Universal Credit. The government is writing to people who were shielding explaining the new restrictions. This letter is evidence for your employer that you can’t work, or to help you claim these benefits.
  • If someone is caring for you, they can continue to do this. Ask your family, friends or neighbours if they can collect shopping or medicines for you. You could also try online shopping, or ask your pharmacy to deliver medicines. The NHS Volunteer Responder scheme can also help.

We have more information about practical support. Read more about the new guidance for people who are clinically vulnerable in England.

In Scotland

The government has introduced 5 protection levels, which have different restrictions, depending on the infection rate in different areas. Read the detailed guidance for each level on the Scottish government’s website.

If you were shielding, there is some specific guidance, depending on which level your area is in.

  • If you live in an area with level 0 or 1, you should follow the general advice about meeting others. In level 2, you should reduce how much contact you have with people you don’t live with. In level 3 or 4, limit how much you see people you don’t live with.
  • You can still meet people in your extended household, whichever level you live in. But you should follow strict hygiene measures, like washing your hands and cleaning surfaces.
  • You should try to work from home, but if this isn’t possible, speak to your employer to make sure your workplace is safe. It should be possible for most workplaces to be made safe. If your workplace can’t be made safe and you live in an area with level 2 or 3, speak to your GP or consultant about getting a fit note. In level 4, the Chief Medical Officer can send you a letter which is similar to a fit note.

In Wales

There is currently a lockdown across Wales – called a “firebreak”. This is due to end on 9 November. You should:

  • Stay at home as much as possible. You can go out to buy food, medicine and for exercise with people you live with.
  • Wear a face covering in indoor places.
  • You should go to any medical appointments, and if someone is providing care to you they can continue to do this.
  • If you were shielding, to keep yourself safe avoid seeing people you don’t live with. Try to shop online, or shop once a week at quieter times. Wash your hands regularly, and don’t touch surfaces that others have touched.

Read more about the restrictions in Wales.

In Northern Ireland

New restrictions were introduced on 16 October 2020 and will be in place for four weeks.

  • You can’t meet with people you don’t live with inside, although you can continue to meet people in your support bubble.
  • If someone is caring for you, they can continue doing this.
  • Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing.

Read more about the restrictions in Northern Ireland.

We know that these tightening restrictions are tough, especially if you have pancreatic cancer. Keep in touch with family and friends – by phone, email, Zoom, Skype or Facetime – and make sure you ask for help if you need it. If you have any questions about your care, speak to your doctor, nurse or GP. And you can contact our specialist nurses on our free Support Line at any time. We can help with questions about pancreatic cancer, coronavirus, or to talk about how you’re really feeling.

I hope you have found this blog useful. Please do stay safe.

With best wishes

Nicci
Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse