A cancer patient has slammed what he calls the Government’s “devil may care” attitude to looking after people still in isolation.

Mike Dicks, from Hove, has been shielding for three months. He suffers from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and is at high risk from Covid-19. The cancer affects white blood cells and prevents his body from fending off viruses.

The 52-year-old was warned to stay home and avoid all physical contact with others for at least 12 weeks.

But the Government has now told Mike and more than two million others in the England that they will no longer need to shield from August 1.

They can return to work and statutory sick pay will stop. They will still be given help to get hold of medicine and make doctors’ appointments.

From July 6 they will be able to meet up outdoors in a group of up to five others. They will also be allowed to form “support bubbles” with other households. Downing Street says the measures can be eased because infection rates are falling.

But Mike believes the Government is absolving itself of responsibility at a dangerous time. He fears that as businesses open and restrictions ease, vulnerable people will be put at risk by the more relaxed guidelines.

When the Government first allowed shielders to leave the house earlier this month, he felt so unsafe he vowed to stay put, branding the advice “irresponsible”.

On Monday, Mike went for a blood test in Hove. Other than putting the bins out, he had not left the house since he was told to start shielding in March. He said the experience was “frightening”.

“I went round the back way to the polyclinic in Hove, but even then I must have encountered 50 people,” he said.

“I tried to zig zag from one pavement to another because very few seemed to be keeping to social distancing guidelines. I don’t understand why the Government seems to think it’s fine for us to go out now.

“We’ve been released and left to our own devices. But it feels like the Government just doesn’t care about us.”

Mike has called for a “shielding hour” or a time of day when shielders can leave the house safely while others stay home.

He said he is not reassured by the infection rates and said many vulnerable people still do not feel it is safe to leave.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said the Government was doing everything it could to support those most at risk. He said the guidance could be relaxed because the chance of encountering coronavirus in the community continues to decline.

He said: “The decision on whether to follow shielding advice should always be based on conversations between doctors and their patients, as they will be best placed to advise on the needs of individuals during this time.”

The Government said support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils.