General advice from the UK Government, NHS, and Others
Page last reviewed / updated 23rd September 2021
The key reference points for information and advice for everyone are the NHS website and the Government information hub, which includes links to additional information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These are regularly updated.
Shielding and Protecting Vulnerable People
The shielding programme has now ended in England. Guidance for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 can be found here.
SMA-focused advice is on these pages.
Government guidance for anyone who provides unpaid care for a friend or family member is here. Further information in the Personal Assistants, Carers and Home Care section of our website may also be helpful.
Staying Safe - National Guidance
Government advice on how how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus is being updated regularly.
Guidance about face coverings includes why they are worn, when to wear one, how to make your own and how they should be safely used and stored.
Covid-19 Vaccination Programme
You can find further information in the SMA-focused section.
The government want as many people as possible take up the offer of a COVID-19 vaccination when it is their turn. The NHS website includes information here about the vaccine, how you will be invited, how to book and what happens at the appointment.
FAQs answered by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer are here.
Other UK-Wide Measures
NHS information includes advice on how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus and on how to wash your hands properly. Guidance for ventilating indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus is here.
To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), most hospitals stopped or significantly limited visits and appointments. There is advice on using the NHS and other health services and on visiting someone in hospital.
Government guidance for consumers on coronavirus and food, is here.
Testing for Coronavirus
The government have guidance on coronavirus testing, including lateral flow and PCR tests. They explain how to get tested if you have or if you don't have symptoms. There's additional information about surge testing (increased testing including door-to-door testing) and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations in England where new COVID-19 variants have been identified. There is also advice, guidance and help with NHS Test and Trace. The NHS COVID-19 app, available to download for free in England and Wales, tracks your movements and alerts you if you're at risk from coronavirus.
Self Isolation: staying at home for households with possible coronavirus infection
If you live in the same household as a person who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or who has received a positive test result, follow the Stay at Home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19. The guidance is published in several languages – scroll down to see. If you or someone you live with has symptoms, the NHS advice may also be helpful.
If you have been in close contact with, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, guidance is here.
If you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you’re on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, you may be entitled to a payment of £500 from your local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.
Long Covid: Most people’s symptoms of COVID-19 resolve within 12 weeks. However, for some people symptoms can persist beyond this period or new ones can develop and may be diagnosed as 'Long Covid' - see NHS website for information and support for recovery. Health Improvement Scotland have published information, including: SIGN 161: Managing the long term effects of COVID-19 and Long COVID: A booklet for people who have symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19.
Work and Financial Support:
The Government has published a range of documents providing guidance about getting financial support, working safely (at home or elsewhere) childcare and caring responsibilities, annual leave and sick leave. There is also information in this section of our website.
Education: The Government has published a range of documents providing guidance and advice about coronavirus in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students. There is also information in this section of our website.
Advice on looking after mental health and wellbeing is on the NHS website Every Mind Matters.
Other tips and advice for adults and children in managing the mental health side of dealing with the coronavirus can be found here.