PEOPLE with serious health conditions must 'shield' themselves by staying home for nearly three months, the government has said.

Those with severe respiratory conditions, such as asthma, “face the highest risk of being hospitalised by coronavirus” and should now isolate for 12 weeks. 

As a warning to those most at risk, the NHS has shared new advice for those most vulnerable to help prevent the spread of the virus.

It comes after the government said an estimated 1.4million people who are most 'at risk' from severe coronavirus will be sent a text message or letter advising them to stop all social contact.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the very most vulnerable will be told to carry out social distancing measures in place for 12 weeks from tomorrow.

Below is a full list of those advised to stay at home.

The high-risk group

1. Solid organ transplant recipients

2. People with specific cancers: people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer, people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment, people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer, people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors, people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

Individuals who have been given a prognosis of less than six months to live, and some others in special circumstances, could decide not to undertake shielding. The advice is for these people to consult their GP or healthcare workers for advice.

The NHS is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice.

If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter by Sunday, March 29 or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

The measures

The measures set out in the guidance are:

·      Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.

·      Do not leave your house.

·      Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.

·      Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.

·      Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

·      Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

A statement on the Government website about shielding reads: "You are strongly 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 you receive your letter.

"Please note that this period of time could change.

"Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19).

"All people coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often whilst they are there."