A DAD whose son has a rare muscle-wasting condition shares his family’s experiences of shielding from Covid-19 and his concerns ahead of it being paused in England.

Kieron Sales’ six-year-old son, Alfie, has a condition called Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which means he’s at higher risk of Covid-19.

Kieron and his wife, Louise, have been shielding at their home in Leigh, with Alfie and daughter Mila-Rose, seven,

Ahead of shielding being paused on August 1 in England, Kieron is urging the public to remember that some people who are out may be at high risk of Covid-19.

People who have been shielding still need to practise socially distancing at two metres or more – as opposed to the one-metre-plus rule for others.

Kieron said: “I don't think people realise how hard shielding really is, it's a massive sacrifice and it's even more difficult to see people flocking to the beach in their thousands during a global pandemic. It's just pure selfishness, and they have the attitude, ‘It's OK, it won't affect me.’

“I’m not really sure what our way out of this situation is at the moment and what we’re expected to do once August 1 comes around. Are we just expected to go back into society as if nothing has happened? Do we take a baby-step approach? Will there be continued support from the Government?

"The general public will have had a month of being back to some kind of normal, yet come August 1 we will have to make anxious decisions that are usually just an average everyday task.”

Kieron, who is exploring the possibility of creating a lanyard or badge that people can wear to show they are shielding, added: "Should the Government introduce a 'shielding hour' that works in a similar way to how key workers were allowed to shop alone to avoid the crowds? I'm sure it would ease the anxiousness of being thrown back into society.

“I think we will just have to take the baby-step approach. If we are to go to the shops then either myself or my wife will go alone early in the morning or late in the evening. We can't take the risk of letting Mila-Rose and Alfie back into society too soon. We're also gradually introducing our close family and friends back into our 'bubble' by having socially distanced chats in our garden.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK is the leading charity for 70,000 people in the UK with one of 60 rare and ultra-rare muscle-wasting conditions and is campaigning for support from the Government for those who need to continue to shield past August 1 and will still need access to food and medicines.

Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns, Care and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Lockdown has been a stressful time for people like Kieron, Louise, Alfie and Mila-Rose. While the risk of being exposed to Covid-19 may be falling, the Government itself has said the potential impact on many people living with a muscle-wasting condition remains severe.

"It must ensure that nobody who feels the need to continue to shield is left isolated and alone. And people who would like to start coming out of shielding must be made to feel safe in doing so.

“Everyone who has been shielding has had a different experience, and it’s vital this is recognised.

"We’d urge the Government to listen to people who are shielding like Kieron, and to continue to work with charities like Muscular Dystrophy UK.”