What do current coronavirus restrictions mean for people with pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer specialist nurse, Nicci, explains how the coronavirus restrictions affect people with pancreatic cancer and where to get more information.
Please note – this blog was published on 15 October 2020. Since then restrictions have changed in Wales. Given restrictions are likely to continue to change across the UK, please check current guidance where you live. Our coronavirus information is based on the latest guidance.
There have been a lot of changes to coronavirus restrictions recently, and different areas are affected differently. We know some people are finding this confusing, and so in this blog we’ll explain how the restrictions affect people with pancreatic cancer and where to get more information.
First of all, if you were previously shielding, the shielding is still paused. In England, the government has said that it will only reintroduce shielding in areas where there is a very high risk, and only for a short time. Wherever you live in the UK, the government will write to you if you live in an area where shielding is reintroduced and you need to start shielding again.
If you are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, it’s really important that you continue to follow guidance carefully. For example, wash your hands carefully, maintain social distancing from people you don’t live with, and avoid people with symptoms of coronavirus. Read more about keeping yourself safe if you go out.
Across the UK, local restrictions are being introduced. This is because infection rates are different in different areas.
In England, the government has introduced three alert levels, depending on the infection rate.
- Local COVID alert level: medium means that the national restrictions that have been in place over the last few weeks continue. You must not meet in groups of more than 6 people (“rule of 6).
- Local COVID alert level: high means there is a higher rate of infection in that area. You must not meet anyone you don’t live with or aren’t in a support bubble with indoors. But you can meet in groups of up to 6 people outside.
- Local COVID alert level: very high is for areas with the highest infection rate. You must not meet people you don’t live with or aren’t in a support bubble with indoors. You can only meet at a few outside places, such as parks and public gardens, in groups up to 6 people.
Find out what the alert level is where you live. There is more guidance for people who are extremely vulnerable and were previously shielding.
In Scotland, the government has introduced temporary measures, which are currently in place until 24 October 2020. You shouldn’t meet people you don’t live with, or aren’t in an extended household with, in your home. You can meet one other household inside in a public space such as a café or restaurant, up to a maximum of 6 people. You can also meet outside.
There are stricter measures in place in some parts of Scotland. Find out more about the guidance and check restrictions in your area in Scotland.
In Wales, you can’t meet people you don’t live with or aren’t in an extended household with indoors. You can gather outside in groups of up to 30 people. Read more about the guidance in Wales.
There are also local restrictions in place in some parts of Wales – check restrictions in your area.
In Northern Ireland, restrictions are being tightened for 4 weeks from Friday 16 October. You can’t meet in your home with people you don’t live with or aren’t in a support bubble with, and support bubbles will be limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households. Up to 6 people can meet outside. Read more about the guidance in Northern Ireland.
There are also local restrictions in Northern Ireland – read more about these.
And finally, a reminder that if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you should apply for a coronavirus test on the NHS website. Although the testing service is very busy, do keep trying. If you have problems using the online service, call 119 if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or 0300 303 2713 if you’re in Scotland.
We know that with infection rates rising across the UK, it is a worrying time for people with pancreatic cancer. If you have any questions at all, or just want to talk, you can speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line. Call the nurses on 0808 801 0707.
Take care, and do stay safe.