Somerset’s Lord Lieutenant Annie Maw has issued a personal message for others that have been shielding to protect themselves from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Maw has herself been advised to shield after she broke her back in an accident 18 years ago.
In a video message, she explains how she is the link between the royal household and the people of Somerset, “Because they like to know what we are doing and the good things people have done in the County”.
The video message comes as guidance to people currently advised to shield from coronavirus has changed.
The Lord Lieutenant gives her praise to the people of Somerset and credits their compliance to Government guidance in keeping Somerset’s positive case numbers low.
On the question of how she felt when she was identified as someone who must shield to protect herself from the virus, she said: “As someone with paraplegia because I broke my back 18 years ago, I have had to come to terms already once with a serious situation regarding my health.
“I don’t think perhaps I found it as difficult as some people would, but I do comprehend how shocking it must have been for a lot of people to have to keep out of the public’s way to make sure they didn’t make contact with that virus”.
In her video she says: “Now the constraints have been relaxed a bit, we have a new set of challenges. I personally feel nervous and unsure – I haven’t left my house and garden for 115 days but I know it’s something I must do and it’s all part of the next step that we must all face together”.
She says that, as people begin to adjust to a little bit more freedom, some of the backup that we have been used to will be less available, but reminds the public that the NHS volunteer support scheme will continue to operate to provide help for things like transport to medical appointments and the collection of prescriptions and essential items even after 31 July.
Mrs Maw also gives advice on where to go if you are feeling anxious about the next few months as guidance begins to be eased.
She ends her message by saying she is “Confident” that as a community, we are sensible and will still be careful in our choices to keep ourselves and others safe.