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Covid-19: Supporting the vulnerable during lockdown


Starting from the end of March 2020, the government advised some 2.2 million people who it considered to be “clinically extremely vulnerable” to covid-19 that they should shield at home for 12 weeks, to protect themselves from the virus.

For those shielding, the government offered support with food and medicine, delivered via central government, and with social care, delivered through local authorities. Over 3 million food deliveries have been made.

A further 17 million vulnerable people were advised to take additional social distancing precautions but not actually “shield”. Those requiring support with food, medicine, and care in this group were told to approach local authorities for help.

The NAO report on government protection and support of vulnerable people during lockdown evaluates how effectively government identified and met the needs of people identified as vulnerable to covid-19 in the lockdown, including variations in impact or outcomes for diverse populations.

The Committee will question senior officials at DHSC, Defra, and MHCLG on how well government identified vulnerable people, how government protected and supported vulnerable people and whether government has learnt and applied lessons from its shielding programmes.

If you have evidence on the questions raised in this inquiry, please submit it here by 6:00pm on Monday 15 February 2021.