VULNERABLE people who have been shielding for the past four months will be able to rejoin society from today – despite new measures in place across the borough as coronavirus infection rates rise.

The government has paused the shielding programme across England from today, meaning the most vulnerable members of society are now able to return to work, leave their houses, and go shopping.

Rosie Adamson-Clark, who has been shielding at home with her wife, said that the changes wouldn't drastically affect her life.

She said: "I think the date itself is fairly arbitrary, I won't be cured when shielding ends so I still need to be just as careful as I am now.

"Covid has made the world quite a scary place if you have lots of life threatening conditions, I shall still be being very careful.

"I won't be out in the wild world, like most people I will need to take careful consideration of what I'm willing to take a small risk on.

"Being able to meet family outside when it's nice again will be a good thing, but as for shopping and restaurants we can't be heading into enclosed buildings like that."

The 64-year-old former NHS worker has a long list of life-limiting conditions, and has been staying at home since March.

A major heart attack, adrenal failure, and complex generic conditions put Mrs Adamson-Clark at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19, driving her into the safety of her own home for the past four months.

Now, as more measures have been put into place to stop the spread of the virus across Greater Manchester, those who are shielding are able to enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of the population, but many feel too nervous to change their routine.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, Leader of Bolton Council, has also been shielding during the pandemic, and understands why people are worried about leaving the programme.

He said: "I know the feeling of worry that people are experiencing as they think about leaving their homes again.

"Many support groups have people who say they won't be leaving the house, and I understand that. It's a horrible feeling knowing that you're more prone to catching and becoming seriously ill with covid.

"There's no room for complacency in the guidelines as our vulnerable people start to rejoin society, we need to do what we can to protect them."

Despite her desire to return to some parts of normal life, Mrs Adamson-Clark is one of those people who won't be heading out just yet.

She added: "I'm a Quaker and obviously I've missed worship – there's been lots of discussion about welcoming people back but I'm not sure I'd go, it's still a building.

"Worship is at the core of your being if you're a person of faith, you want to meet with people of your same faith.

"It's a very difficult decision to make."