A BRADFORD mum has spoken of her fear amid the Government's easing of restrictions for vulnerable people who are shielding during the Covid-19 crisis.

At the start of the lockdown, 1.8 million people in England were asked to stay indoors for 12 weeks as they were considered most at risk from the virus. But on Sunday, the Government announced that from June 1, people identified by the NHS as vulnerable and at high risk - who have been shielding since the coronavirus pandemic began - would be able to spend time outdoors as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

Now, Bradford health experts have joined forces to urge people not to put themselves at unnecessary risk.

The Council’s Public Health team and Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) believe the policy change has been made too early, is not necessary and potentially puts lives at risk. They believe that the Government should have waited until more is known about the infection rate, the NHS Test and Trace system is better established and public resolve to maintain physical distancing and hygiene can be reinforced.

This is in addition to a collective plea by the Association of Directors of Public Health to stop the wider easing of the lockdown in England.

They say the new rules, including allowing groups of up to six non-shielding people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, are “not supported by the science”, and evidence over the weekend, including packed beaches and beauty spots, like on the riverside at Ilkley, indicates that the public is not sticking to the potentially life-saving social distancing guidance.

Mum-of-two Shagufta Sharif, 42, from Heaton, who had a kidney transplant in 2008, said she was "completely opposed" to the Government's new advice.

She said: "I take immunosuppressive medication everyday which makes me more likely to get very ill if I got Coronavirus.

"We were advised to stay indoors for 12 weeks. No face to face contact with anyone outside the household.

"Without any warning or clear guidance, we have been advised we can go out now. My transplant friends and I don’t understand how this has happened. The virus hasn’t gone away, there is no vaccine so how can we possibly risk going outside? I am one of the people everyone has been trying to protect- now I feel like I’m being thrown under a bus."

She added: "I don’t want to get ill so I will remain indoors until I am confident that the risk is low. I know that social distancing isn’t being observed everywhere. I fear a second peak is coming due to the confusing advice provided. I know rules are not being followed as people don’t understand what they can and can not do.

"The confused messaging has made it harder for me to explain to members of my family, that the changes still mean I can’t see them. It makes me come across as unreasonable and unduly worried when I obviously don’t need to be. I am lucky that I am able to work full time from home.

"We are shielding as a family- so no one from my household is leaving the house. This is a very difficult situation for us, but we’re willing to continue. I don’t know how long I will have to stay indoors, however, I am not willing to risk the gift of life that I have received and the 12 years I have spent looking after it for a bit of fresh air."

Sarah Muckle, Bradford Council’s Director of Public Health, said the easing of restrictions for those shielding was "worrying" and that making a major policy change with one day's notice does not enable councils and health professionals to put the necessary preparations in place to support and advise shielded people.

Dr James Thomas, a local GP and Clinical Chair of the Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We are very concerned about the relaxing of the lockdown at this point and specifically for those at high risk, who are scared and were told to shield themselves for 12 weeks, who are now been given a very different message which will be confusing for some.

"Every person on that shielded list will have been identified by their GP taking into consideration that person’s medical history and health conditions and on that basis they were classed as high risk of contracting Covid-19. They are still classed as high risk.

"It is difficult to understand how the Government has taken this decision on shielding at this point in time. We cannot use a blanket approach to lift shielding for all those at risk, and at such short notice, as the impact could be life-threatening.”

The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for comment.