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Coronavirus: Shielding Scots given new lockdown freedoms

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Some of the restrictions on people shielding from coronavirus have been eased, allowing them to go out more.

There are about 180,000 people shielding in Scotland and they are now able to go on holiday and visit outdoor markets and gardens.

Couples who do not live together are also allowed to meet up without distancing.

It is hoped the need for shielding could be paused entirely by August.

The shielding group includes those who are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus such as people with cancer and severe respiratory conditions.

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she hopes to be able to pause the need for shielding entirely at the end of July, but added: "We would still encourage those in this group to take extra care.

"I know returning to something like normal life will be welcome, but I appreciate it is also known to be quite daunting."

The change in advice means that the shielded can stay at holiday accommodation, including hotels, and visit outdoor markets or public gardens.

'I couldn't be there for her at the end'

image copyrightMarie Seggie
image captionMarie Seggie and her mum Katie who died of Alzheimer's at the start of May

The easing of the lockdown restrictions will change little for Marie Seggie and her shielding regime.

Living with a chronic condition that has left her with only 20% lung capacity means the nursery worker has not ventured far from her Coatbridge home since March.

Marie's 88-year-old mother Katie died in May and this was by far the toughest phase of lockdown, the nursery worker explained.

"It was heartbreaking, the rest of the family could rally round but I was so restricted in what I could do - I couldn't be there for her at the end.

"I feel like I've not really been grieving either because everything has been on hold."

Shielding has also meant sacrifices for Marie's family.

Daughter Emily, a midwife, moved out of the family home to ensure there was no danger of making her mum ill, while husband Bobby and their other daughter Laura are self-isolating with Marie.

"It's been hard not seeing my family properly and I also feel guilty when you see so many people around you helping others but I'm not," she said.

"I don't think the changes will make a huge difference to me just now, I can't wear a mask because of my chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and I am still really nervous about going to the shops."

The 57-year-old added: "I think our first outing will be to a garden centre or somewhere outdoors like that, but even that feels like a big step right now."

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  • Coronavirus in Scotland: Shielding extended until 31 July