A PERSONAL trainer with arthritis who defied Government instructions to self-isolate for 12 weeks said she has major concerns about how lockdown measures will eventually be lifted for those in the high-risk category.

Sinead Fitzgibbon, 43 from Ascot said she was so concerned about the impact the "stark" letter advising her to stay in "one room" in her home would do to her mental and physical health that she decided to overrule it and venture to a nearby park to exercise each day.

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Mrs Fitzgibbon said she understands why her decision may have been seen to be controversial, but said she feared a return to the decade after her diagnosis when her world became "very, very small" - having a negative impact on her state of mind.

She told the PA news agency: "I received both the text and the letter from the Government instructing me in quite stark language to remain indoors.

"The letter went into more detail, I was to basically stay in one room if possible. That is exactly the wrong information and the wrong advice to give somebody like me with my condition, and a lot of people will be in the same boat.

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"It would have been a disaster for me to stay in a room for 12 weeks. So I decided to use my own discretion. I did it responsibly and I put a lot of thought into it."

Mrs Fitzgibbon, originally from Laois, west of Dublin, said she carried out an hour's exercise each day at nearby Windsor Great Park, and took all possible measures to avoid other people.

She said she felt the decision to overrule the letter was the right one, and said greater clarity is needed now for the more than two million vulnerable and shielding people ahead of a possible further release of lockdown measures.

There is currently no timeframe for when isolation for the most vulnerable will be lifted, although Environment Secretary George Eustice has warned that those shielding from coronavirus may have to continue to do so "for several more months".

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Mrs Fitzgibbon said: "We're all in the same boat. It can't be healthy for anybody to be indoors for 12 weeks, and then we're going to re-emerge into society apparently.

"This blanket shielding advice hasn't been great, they now have an opportunity to do something about it. It needs a nuanced approach.

"The whole messaging around the shielding from the get-go has been very stark, the language was very black and white.

"It took away any kind of personal choice. I am in a good place now, I'm mentally strong. If I was where I was 10 years ago receiving that kind of information, I know it would have made me anxious.

"And I actually felt a little bit bullied - that's probably a strong word - but it was very much like: 'you must do this', it took it took away our choice and our independence completely."

On Friday, nearly 50 charities signed an open letter to the Government calling for the urgent need to publish clear, consistent advice on shielding measures to ensure such people protect themselves and can access support as lockdown eases.