The Highest Risk List - formerly known as the Shielding List - will be formally ended on 31 May, as a result of the success of the vaccination programme and the introduction of new treatments for COVID-19.
The decision has been taken following a careful review of growing clinical evidence by a team of specialist clinicians.
It shows that, for the vast majority of those on the list, the risk of hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 has been significantly reduced and is no greater than that of the general public.
Support remains in place for those who are immunosuppressed and who may still have some reduced immunity. This group are likely to need general protection from a range of infections in addition to COVID-19.
Wellbeing support is also available for those on the List, and the SNP Government has allocated an additional £120,000 to the British Red Cross to fund their Connecting With You service to help people reconnect with activities and friends, to rebuild their confidence in going out and to help them regain a better quality of life.
The Distance Aware Scheme is in place to provide free badges and lanyards to people who wish to show others they would welcome additional space and extra care while out in public.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“It may have been easy to forget for those of us who never shielded, but the various lockdown stages have had an huge impact on the daily lives of those at high risk.
“They will be delighted at this milestone, and I hope it makes them feel more secure and safe going out in public. We all deserve to get on with our lives.
“Nevertheless, COVID is ever-present so please continue to be mindful in your interactions with other people.”
The Distance Aware scheme was launched by Wales’ health and care think tank The Bevan Commission in August 2020. The Scottish Government invested £55,500 in developing the scheme for a Scottish audience, including procuring and distributing badges, lanyards and promoting the scheme. A toolkit for businesses is available to provide further support and information.