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Coronavirus guidance

Last updated: 14 January  2021  11.31


  • Lockdown restrictions are now in place across the UK - see below for more details.
  • Despite the latest lockdowns, you are still allowed to travel to provide essential care. Read more here
  • Carers are now included on the vaccination priority list in group 6 - make sure you are registered as a carer with your GP. Read more here

During this COVID-19 pandemic, 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 straightaway.

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

Wherever possible, we are all advised to stay at home and strictly follow the social distancing rules, which may differ depending on where you are in the UK so check your area.

Latest guidance on restrictions

With recent increases in cases and a fast-spreading new variant of the virus having been identified, new tighter restrictions are now in place for all of the UK.

In England, a new lockdown across England came into effect from 6 January which will last at least until the 22 February. The advice is to stay at home as much as possible, as in the first lockdown last March. 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, from 5 January, a full lockdown came into effect across mainland Scotland which will last at least until the end of January. The advice is to stay at home as much as possible – read more.

In Northern Ireland, you can find out about the current restrictions and rules to follow here. A six-week lockdown was introduced from 26 December – this will be reviewed on 21 January but will last at least until 6 February.

In Wales, a new lockdown was introduced from 20 December due to rising levels of the virus. All of Wales is at very high alert level 4. If you or relatives live in Wales, you can find the latest guidance on the rules to follow here and we also have answers to some of your frequently asked questions on our webpage.

You should not be prevented from visiting someone who relies on your support for care, but 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 (see above).

Further to our guidance on being prepared and contingency planning, we have answered some of your key questions about how to protect yourself and those you care for.

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 wellbeing online chats or free 'share and learn' online get togethers – find out more here.

Getting further support

In England, contact your local council for advice on obtaining suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) if needed. You can find their 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 page. A new ID card has been launched to support carers – find out more here

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