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Shielding, Self Isolating and Social Distancing – Confused?

Shielding, Self Isolating and Social Distancing – Confused?

Guidance about Shielding, Self Isolating and Social Distancing

First published 
Apr 8, 2020
First published 
Apr 8, 2020

If you are confused about this don’t worry, it took me a few days to work it out.

Simply put there are different groups of people, divided by their likely risk of complications of Covid19 infection.

The highest risk group will receive a letter directly from the Scottish Government to advise them of this and what they should do. This includes people who have had an organ transplant, are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, have severe asthma or COPD, or have conditions or are on medication which seriously suppress their immune system. The first list of these was produced electronically and yesterday we were advised of who had received their letters. We have added some more folk to the list and they will be getting a letter in due course. This group of people are advised to very seriously isolate themselves for 12 weeks – this is called Shielding

Everyone else is to practice Social Distancing – this is the advice to stay at home nearly all the time, only coming out to buy food and other essentials or to exercise once a day, and to stay 2m away from anyone else when out. If at all possible you should work from home, and only be out at work if you are a key worker.

Those over 70, or younger folk who have a long-term health condition. (Basically this is those who are normally invited to have a flu vaccination) are recommended to very strictly practice Social Distancing.  

Self (or Household )Isolating is for people who have symptoms of COVID19 and the people they live with. A person with symptoms must self isolate for 7 days and their household members for 14. They should not go out at all and even within the home should try to distance themselves from each other as much as possible.

I won’t go into all the details – they are available on the NHS Inform website or by phoning the helpline on 0800 0282816.

Helplines to provide support to people in the various situations are listed below.

  • Anyone living in the Highland Council area requiring support to self-isolate can request assistance by calling a new help line at 0300 303 1362.
  • Anyone living in Appin can contact Clare at APPIN AID on 01631 730416 or email Clare Hunt at
  • Anyone advised to isolate for 12 weeks because of their health condition and have received ‘shielding’ letters can call a new dedicated help line at 01349 886669.
  • An on-line form to seek assistance is also available for the shielding group at
  • Anyone offering support, whether through a community group or as an individual, can also call the help line at 0300 303 1362 or register their support on the Council’s website.