Your questions answered on Lockdown 2

Find out advice and rules on NHS appointments, prescriptions, visits and shielding.
Photo of man in face mask

How long will ‘Lockdown 2’ last?

From Thursday November 5 until Wednesday 2 December 2020.

Can I go to my doctor’s surgery or hospital?

The government says you can leave home for any medical reason, including:

  • to get a COVID-19 test
  • medical appointments and emergencies
  • to visit someone who is giving birth or dying
  • to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm (such as domestic abuse)
  • to visit someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, hospital to accompany them to a medical appointment)

Is shielding happening this time?

Shielding came in during the first lockdown for ‘clinically extremely vulnerable people’ and involved very restrictive measures on people's day-to-day lives. Rules aren’t as strict this time and people in this group are advised to:

  • work from home (or seek sick pay or employment support allowance if you can’t)
  • avoid supermarkets and ask family, friends, neighbours or volunteers to go for you
  • avoid pharmacies and ask family, friends, neighbours or volunteers to go for you, or ask pharmacies to deliver under a re-started scheme brought in by the government
  • register with the government for shielding support if you have no-one to help you and you need priority shopping slots or other help arranged by your local council
  • feel free to go out for exercise or to outdoor public spaces (as per guidance for the general public, including going out with a person from another household)
  • travel to attend medical appointments
  • socially distance, wash hands and wear face coverings to reduce the risk of Covid

Who counts as 'clinically extremely vulnerable'?

People who have had organ transplants; people with various cancers or types of cancer treatment; those with serious respiratory diseases; pregnant women with serious heart disease; people with rare diseases or anyone else classed by doctors as extremely vulnerable. Adults with down’s syndrome and stage 5 chronic kidney disease have also been added this time to the full list.

Can I visit a friend or relative in hospital?

Visiting arrangements will be at the discretion of local hospitals.

Can I visit a friend or relative in a care home?

The government has published guidance suggesting visits can take place if they are done in a Covid-safe way such as by having ‘visiting pods’, window visits or floor-to-ceiling screens. Charities for older people say this guidance is too restrictive, impractical for care homes to put in place, and will penalise dementia patients and their families. Check with your relative’s care home what arrangements are possible.


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