Boris Johnson has declared 2.2million of the nation's most vulnerable people do not need to 'shield' again despite a surge in coronavirus.

The Prime Minister warned the UK was at a "perilous turning point" after the alert level rose to four for the first time since June - and 4,926 new cases were recorded today.

Yet despite outlining a string of restrictions and telling people to work from home if they can, the Prime Minister offered no new advice to the millions who shielded.

Instead he said: "Our guidance continues to be that you do not need to shield – except in local lockdown areas."

Even that statement appeared to be misleading because most vulnerable people in lockdown areas still don't need to shield.

Only a few areas, such as Leicester and certain wards in Blackburn, are asking the vulnerable to shield until October 5.

Other local lockdown areas such as Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Liverpool have no guidance to shield.

The Prime Minister offered no new advice to the millions who shielded

The MS Society charity demanded "urgent" clarity for the millions of people who previously did not leave their home for months.

Head of policy Phillip Anderson said: "Yet again we have a major statement from the Prime Minister where he was largely silent on vulnerable people.

"With estimated cases now higher than when the shielding programme was paused this is a huge disappointment.

"Over 130,000 people live with MS in the UK and thousands of them will be incredibly worried about the rising numbers.

"We urgently need to hear what the plan is to protect vulnerable people, under what circumstances shielding could be brought back and what support will be offered.

"We’re being told again the general public should work from home where they can. We want to know if it’s safe for vulnerable people to go into workplaces at all.

"It is simply not right that some are already being forced to choose between their health and their job and we want to see a financial support package introduced where it’s not safe for them to go into work."

The 'shielding' group includes people with cancer, an organ transplant or cystic fibrosis - who are most at risk of complications or death from Covid-19.

It comprises 2.2million people, and around 328,000 of them in England live with a child under 16.

Guidance for the group to stay at home in almost all circumstances ended on August 1, apart from in a few local lockdown areas.

Shielded people are now under the same rules as the rest of England. They are encouraged to return to work if needed by their employer, and send their children to school.

And support including food deliveries has also ended.

Last month the Office for National Statistics said 196,000 of those who'd shielded who normally work (32%) were "not at all comfortable" working outside their home.

Disability charity Scope demanded an extension to the furlough scheme for disabled people.

Executive director James Taylor said: "The Prime Minister’s announcement today has done little to reassure disabled people, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic and yet routinely forgotten by government.

“It is unforgivable that, after failing disabled people in the first wave of the pandemic, the government could make the same mistakes again and overlook the needs of disabled people.

“The uncertainty and lack of a clear plan for disabled people is creating huge amounts of anxiety.

"Just a few days ago we were hearing rumours millions nationwide may be asked to shield again, and yet today the message seems to be that while we are facing a second wave, those most at risk don’t need to shield.

“Shielding may still be paused for most people, but the virus hasn’t gone away. Disabled people at higher risk from the virus will be feeling extremely anxious as they face an unthinkable dilemma between their health and their wages.

“With the furlough scheme due to end in just a few weeks, many disabled workers will be heading for a cliff edge, fearing they’ll be first in line for redundancies and last in line when applying for jobs."