If you think you have symptoms of coronavirus, or want to know about testing and tracing programmes, see this article.

This article gives an overview of official guidance and rules on lockdown, categories of vulnerable patients, and how to get help. There are links to the full documents at the bottom of this page.

There are five sections to the advice below:

Requirements for everyone – England
Requirements for everyone – Scotland
Requirements for everyone – Wales
Requirements for everyone – Northern Ireland
If you need support.

While the rules and guidance are broadly similar throughout the United Kingdom, there are detailed differences between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and there may be local variations in the level of restrictions on day-to-day life. Links to rules and guidance in the devolved nations are included below.

General resources

NHS advice on what to do if you are unwell - UK
Working safely during coronavirus (contains links to equivalent advice for each devolved nation).

Guidance on hand-washing and hygiene remains in place:

  • Wash your hands more often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze, cough, eat, or handle food
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • If you can, wear a cloth face mask when you are indoors with people outside your household, and it is not possible to maintain social distancing (eg in some shops)
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

Requirements for everyone - England

Staying alert and safe (social distancing)
Local COVID alert levels - what you need to know
Check the rules in your area
Meeting people from outside your household (including forming 'bubbles')
Guidance on staying at home for households with possible coronavirus – Public Health England
Guidance for people receiving direct payments

Back to top

Requirements for everyone - Scotland

Staying safe and protecting others
Forming extended households
Local advice and measures

Back to top

Requirements for everyone - Wales

Protecting yourself and others from coronavirus
Leaving your home and seeing other people
Social distancing guidance
Guidance on extended households
Coronavirus regulations: FAQs
Local lockdowns

Back to top

Requirements for everyone – Northern Ireland

Overview and advice
Staying at home and self-isolation
COVID-19 regulations

Back to top 

If you need support

Many local voluntary groups have been formed to help people who need support due to coronavirus. To find out if there is one in your area, visit covidmutualaid.org. The service On Hand can also match people who need help with vetted volunteers. In Scotland, Ready Scotland offered a portal for both volunteering and seeking assistance locally. In Wales, see Volunteering Wales

There is also support available for all patients and members of the public. The NHS has created a new service via the messaging app WhatsApp. Enter the number 07860 064422 into your contacts, then message it the word 'hi' to get started. This is a 'chatbot' service that can provide you with information.  

See this article for information on what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19, and how to get a test.

If online information is not sufficient and you need to speak to someone, you can call NHS 111

You can of course also call the Patients Association helpline on 0800 3457115 for free information, advice and signposting, between 9:30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or email at any time.

Back to top

Last updated: 16th October 12:15.