From next week, those who are especially vulnerable to coronavirus will be able to register for government support.
People who have a health condition which makes them extremely vulnerable will be able to receive help, for instance in getting essential supplies.
The service is due to go live next week, and people will be able to register online.
NHS England is sending out letters to vulnerable people with certain health conditions next week to advise them on measures to protect themselves, including avoiding face-to-face contact for 12 weeks.
People who are most at risk include:
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer, as well as those with cancers of the blood or bone marrow who are at any stage of their treatment.
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
- Those undergoing targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the past six months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- Those with respiratory conditions including severe asthma, severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis.
- Pregnant women who have significant heart disease.
The DHSC said people with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase infection are also classed as high-risk.
Those with serious health conditions face the highest risk of needing hospital treatment for Covid-19 according to the DHSC.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick also announced new shielding measures for those people who are most at risk.
- The NHS will contact by those at higher risk – asking people to not leave home for 12 weeks.
- Others in the household won’t be required to follow same measures – just social distancing measures. Carers can still visit.
- For those without a network, government will be setting up a network of local ‘hub’s – medicine and food to be distributed by local authorities. Parcels will be left on doorstep – emergency services and armed forces will support this effort.