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Coronavirus guidance

Last updated: 20 April 2021 9.26

LATEST UPDATES:

  • Lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased across much of the UK – see below for more details.
  • Despite current restrictions, you are still allowed to travel to provide essential care. Read more here
  • Unpaid carers are included on the vaccination priority list in group 6. Read more here


During these times, it's important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after.

If you, or someone you care for, has a symptom of coronavirus such as a continuous cough, fever or a lack of taste or smell, you can get further support through the NHS coronavirus helpline and arrange a test. Ensure you self-isolate and forewarn those you have been close to straight away.

Do seek medical help if the symptoms become severe and difficult to manage.

Getting help in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

  • Scotland: Check your symptoms online
  • Wales: Check your symptoms online.
  • Northern Ireland: Check your symptoms online

We are all advised to remain cautious and carefully follow the social distancing rules and guidance. Current rules differ depending on where you are in the UK so check your area.

Latest guidance on restrictions

Despite coronavirus rates declining in the UK and the number of people being vaccinated rising, there is still a need to be cautious and follow the guidance, as restrictions remain in place across the UK to protect us all. 

In England, as cases continue to fall, a four-step plan, which began on 8 March, is gradually being rolled out to ease lockdown restrictions. From 29 March, it became possible for six people or two households to meet outside and from 12 April, other measures eased. For example, many services reopened such as shops, restaurants and hairdressers – read more here

If you desperately need a break

You can arrange with family or friends for someone else to provide the care you normally provide to the person you care for, to enable you to take a break. Read more

In Scotland, COVID-19 restrictions are still in place according to a tiered system which varies from area to area. Four people from two households can meet outside (and indoors in a public place), and travel is now allowed anywhere within Scotland (but overnight stays beyond your local council area are not permitted). For more details, follow this guidance

In Northern Ireland, from 23 April close contact services, such as hairdressers, will be reopening, as well as outdoor visitor attractions and competitive sports. Further restrictions will be eased from 30 April, enabling outdoor hospitality services to resume. Current restrictions are due to be reviewed again on 13 May. You can find out about the current restrictions and rules to follow here

In Wales, up to six people from no more than two households (excluding any carers or children under 11 from either of those households) can meet outdoors at any one time. From 24 April, six people (not counting children under 11 and carers) from multiple households can also meet outside. From 26 April, further restrictions are being lifted to allow greater freedom around travelling, hospitality and outdoor activities. You can find the latest guidance here.

You should not be prevented from visiting someone who relies on your support for care, although it is advisable to take every precaution possible.

Can I urgently visit someone in another country if they need me for care purposes?

Although most people cannot travel between countries in the UK now, there are exceptions for those who need to care for someone urgently. It is advisable to carry some form of proof, such as a letter from your doctor, to prove your role.

Getting further support

In England, contact your local council for advice on obtaining suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) if needed. If you care for someone you don't live with, it is strongly recommended you wear PPE. The latest guidance can be found here. You can find your local authority's contact details using our local directory.

Carers in Scotland can request personal protective equipment (PPE) to support their caring role. The Scottish Government has provided guidance for carers on what PPE is needed and when. To access PPE, in the first instance, you should contact your local carers' centre – use our directory to find your nearest centre. See this video for guidance on how to wear PPE.

In Wales, you can follow the latest guidance on PPE here. Contact your local authority for more details on how to obtain this. Find your closest local authority.

In Northern Ireland, specific guidance for unpaid carers can be found on this health-ni-gov.uk page. A new ID card has been launched to support carers – find out more here. You can contact your local trust for further information and support using our local directory as a starting point.

We also have lots of useful guidance on being prepared for emergencies and contingency planning. See below for more topics and sources of support to help protect those you care for and yourself during the pandemic.

Click on the relevant links below:

What is the latest guidance for carers?

Staying safe - FAQs

Managing food and medication - FAQs

Benefits guidance - FAQs

Practical guidance - FAQs

For the latest updates on changes to the benefits system, see our A-Z of changes to benefits, assessments and support. See below for more topics:

Protecting who you care for – for ways to minimise their risk 

Making a plan – for useful tips on contingency planning

Working and caring – for support if you're juggling work with caring

Protecting your mental wellbeing – for tips on keeping positive

Keeping active and well – for ideas on exercising

To connect with other carers, you may wish to join one of our Care for a Cuppa online chats or free 'share and learn' online get togethers – offering everything from music and art to yoga, dance and mindfulness.

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