Vulnerable residents in North Devon and Torridge are urged to remain at home despite changes to the Government’s lockdown restrictions.

People with underlying health conditions who risk severe illness if they catch coronavirus have been advised by the NHS not to leave their homes until at least the end of June, even for essential items or exercise, in order to minimise face-to-face contact and prevent being exposed to the virus.

Although the Government’s changes to the lockdown – which include being able to spend more time outdoors – came into effect on Wednesday (May 13), there is no change to the guidance regarding the shielding measures designed to keep the vulnerable safe.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Regardless of the small changes to the lockdown restrictions announced yesterday, the advice to the most vulnerable in our communities remains the same – stay at home.

“Although our infection rates in Devon are relatively low compared to other parts of the UK, those with certain conditions are still at the greatest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and are more likely to be admitted to hospital if they catch it.

“If you’re vulnerable, please, keep going, stay at home and stay safe.”

Residents who have received a letter advising they are clinically vulnerable should register for extra support on the government website.

Those who are shielding who aren’t able to use online supermarket services and have no friends, family or neighbours to help can contact the government to arrange for free basic food supplies to be delivered weekly.

Residents who are receiving food parcels but have dietary requirements that are not being met are asked to contact Devon County Council to arrange ‘top-up food boxes’ with appropriate produce for vegetarians, vegans and those with gluten or dairy intolerance.

Deliveries of other provisions can be organised through North Devon and Torridge’s local hubs.

Residents can call their local helpline, and family, friends and neighbours can phone to raise concerns about someone in their community.

The North Devon Council Coronavirus Community Support Service is available on 01271 388280.

Torridge District Council’s Covid information line is available on 01237 428888.

Devon County Council’s Coronavirus Emergency Helpline is available on 0345 1551011