A MUM of a 13-year-old who is classed as ‘extremely vulnerable’ according to new government advice says the coronavirus outbreak has been ‘an incredibly difficult time’ for families.

James Jenkins, a student at RGS was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia, and was given a life-saving transplant when he was just 11 months old.

Organ transplant recipients are on the list of groups identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus and have now been told to ‘shield’ to protect themselves.

James’ mum Maria Jenkins said: “All of last week he was off. We kept all the kids back the week before. He wasn’t feeling great on the Monday and Tuesday. But then he wasn’t himself, he was very quiet and didn’t want to go back. He was probably feeling quite vulnerable hearing what they hear.”

The mum of three said the RGS online learning groups have given James a sense of structure and normality, helping him to adjust to being at home.

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“The school were very understanding. He was just a bit freaked out really but as the weeks have gone on schools have closed anyway. Today they have rolled out a virtual timetable.”

“James is feeling a bit happier about not having to go out, he feels a bit safer.”

Mrs Jenkins is able to work from home and keep the whole family isolated. "It's been very touching, my girls just do it to protect James, without argument."

But she said it is confusing for parents who can’t stay in.

“At the moment it just means we are staying in and we can do that. Other people are having to make sacrifices to go to work, like doctors and nurses. It’s an incredibly difficult time.”

“A lot of the confusion in the community is around the advice to isolate. We should be three feet away from him (James) but we are all isolating. We are not taking any chances. But for other parents who do have to go to work and their child needs to be shielded, it’s not very clear what the parent has to do.”

Mrs Jenkins told the Worcester News the last few weeks have been stressful: “I cry every day, but it’s alright, I just have a cry and I feel better and we just get on with it.”

“Neighbours have been so lovely, and are doing all sorts of things to help. A lovely neighbour put a little gift through the garden gate the other day to try and cheer us up.”