Bubbles have been the focus for many of us this week. Specifically the news from the Government that some people can form a close group for extra support, known as a support bubble.
It’s not open for everyone but will make a big difference to the mental health of those who can now join with others.
The people who can form a support bubble are single adults (those who live by themselves or with children under 18) who can choose one other household to join up with. This means they can go inside their house, stay overnight and do not need to stay two metres apart while they do it.
I know this will be hugely welcomed by single parents and older people who have been by themselves largely since the pandemic lockdown began. It means you can get extra help and hopefully will feel less alone and isolated.
But once you pick who is in your bubble, you cannot change it. You need to remain together so that you do not risk spreading coronavirus. It also means that if anyone in your bubble develops coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste) you all need to self isolate.
And when you are not with the members of your bubble, you must adhere to the usual roles of keeping two metres apart and regular handwashing.
Importantly, if you are shielding you cannot form a support bubble yet. Those who are shielding are still advised to maintain strict social distancing and stay two metres apart from others – including those they live with.
However, this is being kept under review and the Government will be setting out further advice for this specific group in the coming weeks, now that the peak of the pandemic is past.
For those of us who these rules do not apply directly too, hopefully the community spirit that we have seen come to the forefront during the response to coronavirus will allow us to feel some pleasure that those more isolated members of our neighbourhoods can now get some more help.
And hopefully this shows that we are taking another small step forward in coming out of lockdown and towards all of us being able to meet up with all of our loved ones sooner rather than later.
Please stay safe and if you have any questions check the official advice first at nhs.uk/coronavirus.