Mark Allen, 48, has used his time indoors since March to get back into music and even took part in a virtual festival.
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Shielding advice for the most vulnerable people in England and Scotland was paused from Saturday, meaning they are now able to leave their homes and return to work.
Mark Allen, 48, from Widnes, Cheshire, is a communications officer with Halton Borough Council, and has several medical conditions, including cystic fibrosis.
He has had a double lung transplant and is on kidney dialysis. He has hardly left his home since March, other than to have dialysis three times a week.
Speaking to Sky News, he reveals what life has been like for him and how he feels about not having to shield anymore:
I had just come out of hospital for an unrelated lung infection, so I was being really careful anyway, so I’ve mostly been indoors since March.
At first it was a bit strange to be working from home. It has been a bit alien for me, just like for many other people, but you’ve just got to get used to it.
People say it’s the “new normal”, and it is. You get used to doing everything online, like shopping, and you get used to not going out and seeing friends. You get used to Zoom calls with friends. It’s become a new way of life.
I’ve tried to stay fit. I’ve borrowed an indoor bike from Halton Borough Council’s community centre, and I’ve been using the Wii Fit to play tennis and table tennis and golf, and to keep fit that way.
The last two or three weeks I’ve started to go out slowly, in the evenings, when there’s not many people about, along the canal track and in parks when they’re deserted.
If I caught coronavirus, I haven’t got as much chance of pulling through as other people because of my medical background, so I have had to be more careful, more strict.
The consequences of doing things like going to a crowded beach or city centre were quite high, they’re lower now, but everyone’s worried about them rising again aren’t they?
I was very worried about not taking any risks, almost to the point of being paranoid. I’d leave the post for 24 hours before opening it.
I have to go for dialysis three times a week, you get given gloves when you arrive. They’re very good there, you have three different masks during the process, and different masks to go home with. But you find yourself holding your breath when you walk past people, even though people are really good about keeping their distance.
Up until very recently, I only went out to get my dialysis. I did all my shopping online, and I’ve got friends who’d pop round if there was anything I’d missed.
Talking to other people about shielding, they say they’re going to do it gradually, rather than just on a day when it all goes mad.
Everyone’s been slowly getting back into society and that’s what we’re going to do now, especially with new infections in the North West quite high. We’re not going to go to pubs or beaches or outdoor places where there are a lot of people.
Psychologically as well, you’re so used to avoiding people, it’ll be strange to suddenly be with people.
I’ve met up with one friend, but we made sure to social distance and we went for a coffee at a place where you could sit outside, and I’m slowly doing more of that. But even then it felt weird just meeting them, it was like I was doing something elicit or something.
I have missed meeting friends, just a group of you having lunch or coffee, or just going for a drink, nothing mad, just something social.
You can all have a cup of tea on Zoom, but it’s not the same as meeting up and having a chat, having a gossip, going to the pub, going to a cafe, going out for a meal. It would be nice to go out for a meal for the first time, but I’m not sure I could do that yet.
With regards to when shielding was introduced, I do think it was an impossible decision. It’s a no-win situation. If it was brought in too early, some people would say it should have been done later, and if you brought it in later, some would say it should have been done earlier.
But I think there’s only a certain amount of time people can shield for before the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. There are the psychological issues, the domestic abuse – people being cooped up in one place.
At some point, the threat from COVID-19 is less than the threat from other factors. So I think at some point, the lockdown has to end and the shielding has to end, just for people’s peace of mind, for people’s health.
I plan to do a 3km walk (1.86 miles), because normally around this time of year, it’s the British Transplant Games, where everyone who has had a transplant, all over Britain, competes in the event, in honour of our donors.
But obviously this year’s event has been cancelled. But the organisers decided we should do it virtually instead. So I thought it was kind of fitting to do the 3km walk, as a celebration of life.
And having to shield for months actually hasn’t all been ‘doom and gloom’.
I’ve taken part in a virtual festival. I’ve started writing my own songs, as I have my own little studio in the music room in the house. So for the first time, I did some live performances, some solo stuff.
And I don’t think I would have had the inspiration to do that if it hadn’t been for not being able to go out in the evenings and not being able to do other stuff.
It’s made me concentrate on writing some lyrics and recording stuff.
So there have been some advantages.