Shielding 'torture' for single mum, 37, isolated in small village with daughter

Pressure on families is building as stringent lockdown measures are not set to be lifted this week.

By Ben Fishwick
Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 7:58 pm

But 1.5m people in Britain already knew they would not be out of the house any time soon.

The highly vulnerable have been personally advised – by text message and letter – to shield for 12 weeks.

This is now week four, with the lockdown announced on March 23. Dominic Raab, deputising for recovering prime minister Boris Johnson, is expected to announce measures will continue until May 7, The Times reported.

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Mum-of-one Emma Bone, 37, of Westbourne, has been told by government to isolate for 12 weeks as she has end-stage kidney disease and is at risk if she caught Covid-19. Picture: Emma Bone

Among those accepting 12 weeks of being at home is mum-of-one Emma Bone who lives in the village of Westbourne, home to British astronaut Tim Peake.

The 37-year-old has end-stage renal disease. Two previous kidney transplants have failed, leaving her to go on dialysis four days a week. This puts her at high risk from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus.

Most days begin the same for Emma. She and Jasmine - her teenage daughter - have breakfast, try to do some schoolwork and then having prepared her dialysis machine, Emma spends four hours on it.

Government advice to those shielding is to rely on friends, the public sector and charity to get provisions - and essential care. Emma has registered for and received the government package of food for the extremely vulnerable.

Mum-of-one Emma Bone, 37, of Westbourne, has been told by government to isolate for 12 weeks as she has end-stage kidney disease and is at risk if she caught Covid-19. Picture: Emma Bone

But Emma feels so isolated she still makes the half-mile trip to her local shop wearing gloves and a mask to buy bread, milk and sandwich filling.

‘I’m limiting who I see, where I go. But it’s hard not to have contact with other people, to make yourself feel normal,’ said Emma.

‘It’s alright for other people - they can go to the shops, they walk.

‘It’s a worry for me. If I’m one of the ones who catches it, I’ll probably end up in ICU (intensive care).’

Coronavirus scares her. She contracted pneumonia over Christmas and spent a week at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

‘When Boris (Johnson) said about the people who were high risk I was confused at first,’ she said.

‘Then I got my text message to say I was identified as one of the 1.5m vulnerable.

‘It’s hard because obviously I don’t work, I still like to get out every day - because it would just drive me crazy indoors.’

So far 123 people with Covid-19 have died at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, according to figures released today

Emma acknowledges she is ‘not supposed to go out’ but added: ‘It’s torture for me.’

Her parents, 68 and 60, live in Nutbourne - and Emma has friends in Leigh Park but they do not drive.

But being in a small West Sussex village means she is isolated nonetheless. Her daughter Jasmine, 14, has social and emotional needs so cannot shop alone.

‘When I got ill at Christmas, that really knocked me for six,’ she said. ‘It was frightening how quickly I got quill and if anything happens to me then my daughter has got no-one.

‘If anything happens to me that would only leave my parents - my dad is nearly 70 and my mum is 60 - they’re in later life. It’s a lot of responsibility for them.’

Emma also has money worries. She gets £300 a fortnight - and is concerned she cannot buy enough groceries. The government is delivering essentials to those in need.

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