SHIELDING is coming to an end but a Wee County woman living with a chronic lung condition is urging people to remain careful.

Linda McLeod BEM, who chairs Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire and went into voluntary self-isolation just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, this week spoke about the experiences of people at the highest risk.

It comes as the Scottish Government announced that the Highest Risk List – formerly known as the Shielding List – will be formally end on May 31.

Linda, who has now received five jabs to protect her against coronavirus, is planning to continue playing it safe.

She told the Advertiser: “I feel slightly more confident, I've had my fifth vaccine.

“That does give you a wee bit more confidence, we go out for a weekly or fortnightly meal [with husband Andy], but I'm still very careful about mixing with people.”

The Alloa woman, who lives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), went into voluntary self-isolation at the start of March 2020.

While her shopping is still delivered each week she does carefully venture out to a shop once a week, wearing a mask and sanitising her hands and trolleys.

For months, she and her husband avoided everyday activities and while she now allows more family into her home, things have hardly changed since the pandemic turned lives upside down.

She is missing pre-pandemic times, but she would rather keep it safe, saying that “you are not stuck at home, you are safe at home”.

As careful as she has been over the past two years, Linda did contract Covid earlier this year.

It came after her fourth dose and she believes it was the vaccines that ensured it was relatively mild.

Linda said: “If I had taken Covid when it first arrived to Scotland, I don't think I'd be here.”

Just the day before Linda spoke to the Advertiser, another coronavirus death was recorded in the Wee County, taking the total to 142 people in the area.

“It just doesn't bear thinking about it, if I hadn't had the vaccines," she added.

Offering advice to people in a similar situation as hers, Linda added: “I'd advise that they still be very careful because it's still out there.”

While the Highest Risk List in ending, the government explained that support remains in place for people who are immunosuppressed and those who have reduced immunity.

Wellbeing support is also available with £120,000 allocated to the British Red Cross to fund their Connecting With You service.

Dr John Harden, deputy national clinical director, said: “Thankfully, we know a lot more about the virus now.

“Combined with our successful vaccination programme and the availability of new treatments, means the clinical evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of people who have been on the Highest Risk List no longer need to consider themselves at any significantly higher risk.”