Shielding and COVID-19

As Northern Ireland’s only blood cancer charity dedicated to funding local research, we are playing our part in the fight against coronavirus (COVID19) and blood cancer.  From our Lead Researcher and Chair of Experimental Haematology,  Prof. Ken Mills lending his time and expertise to the global fight against COVID-19 to our direct engagement with our supporters.  So, whether we are sharing information, updating you all on what our researchers or doing, or supporting our online fundraising, we are still doing everything we can to beat blood cancer. 

Fighting COVID-19 reinforces the importance of research in finding new treatments and a cure, but we recognise and understand that people affected by blood cancer will have concerns and questions about COVID-19 and how it may affect them. 

Outlined below you will find some links and information to help you with any queries you may have at this troubling time. 

What do you need to know?

As COVID-19 is a new virus in humans, we do not currently know if there are differences in the way it affects people with different types of blood cancer.  However, below is information on how people with blood cancer can keep safe and well during these troubling times.

Social Distancing:

Whether you have blood cancer or not, everyone must help stop the spread of COVID-19.  This means:

  • Staying at home as much as possible
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you do go out (stay 2 metres apart)
  • Wash your hands well and often
  • Work from home if you can
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms

Social distancing aims to reduce social interactions to slow the spread of COVID and reduce your risk of infection.  The Public Health Agency has produced guidance and information on how best to stay safe, to view visit:


Self-isolation (staying at home to prevent the spread of infection) is recommended when you have COVID-19, have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with symptoms and pose an infection of risk to others. 

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back or;
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours or;
  • anosmia – the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell

Everyone in your house must stay at home.

For the latest information on staying at home and self-isolation visit:


Shielding means staying at home to reduce your risk of infection.  It is recommended for people who have a very high-risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. 

For the most up to date guidance on local shielding measures please visit NI Direct:  Their guidance will include important information on:

  • What is shielding
  • Shielding guidance update
  • People advised to shield
  • Other relevant conditions
  • Shielding in the house and going outside
  • Shielding letters
  • Concerns about shielding
  • Support for those who are shielding
  • Living with someone who is shielding
  • If you do not want to shield
  • Information for those not registered with a GP
  • More useful links

Shielding & Blood Cancer – your views and experience matter

Approximately 80,000 people in Northern Ireland have been impacted by the advice to shield.  Many will be shielding due to blood cancer. 

Currently, the Patient Client Council wants to hear from people who have been advised to shield and from their carers.  It’s so important that people with blood cancer get involved so that the Health Service are more informed in what steps and processes they must consider now and in the future, and to ensure that the voice of those impacted by shielding is heard. 

To take part in the survey visit:

For more information

Information about coronavirus is reviewed and updated regularly and is available through the Public Health Agency and NI Direct websites. 

For people living with blood cancer who have a specific query relating to their care, treatment or whether they are at increased risk of coronavirus (COVID-19), we recommend they contact their medical team. 

Getting in touch with us during COVID-19

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our office is currently closed, but we’re still working hard to beat blood cancer through research.  Our team are here to reply to any enquiries during our working hours Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm.  Please contact us via email or via our social media channels. We will reply to any correspondence sent to our office as soon as possible.

We hope to return to our office at soon as it is safe to do so.  Thank you for your understanding. 

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Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, 97 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7AE

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