Doncaster Council have told 4,000 residents under the age of 70 that they must shield, with thousands more to follow in coming days.
The council expects that by the end of the week 7,500 people from ethnic minority communities, deprived areas and residents with existing health conditions must stay at home until at least March 31, 2021.
They will be contacting those told to shield to explain their decision and offer any support they can.
Some local people have questioned why they are not on the shielding list, which led Dr Rupert Suckling – Doncaster’s Director of Public Health – to instruct them to visit their local GP.
Those who have received these instructions from the council must not leave their homes and minimalise face-to-face contact with people from outside their households.
“This is based not only on their health conditions, but on their ethnicity and deprivation of places they live,” Dr Suckling said.
“In Doncaster, that list is just under 4,000 people under the age of 70 and we’ve had those people added to the list.
“We expect another 3,5000 people to be added to the list of people over the age of 70. So those over the age of 70 will already have been invited for a vaccine but those under the age of 70 are not part of what’s called priority group four so they will be invited sooner.”
These extra measures to protect people within the community come as Doncaster’s rate of infection is fluctuating at between 180-200 per 100,000 people – one of the highest in the UK.
On Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a road map plan for the country exiting Covid-19 restrictions, but Jon Gleek from the council’s Policy Insight and Change Team has warned against complacency with Doncaster in a “more challenging position” than most other areas in the country at a council meeting on February 24, 2021.
“The rates in Doncaster have fallen through January and February and over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a small increase,” Dr Suckling added.
“They things to the easing of restrictions will be based on four tests: vaccine deployment success; if vaccines are successful at reducing deaths and hospitalizations; that vaccines don’t cause hospitalizations; the vaccines withstand mutations of the virus.”