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Carers & coronavirus

Reviewed 10th May 2022

The below information has been taken directly from the Carers UK website

KEY UPDATES

  • A booster vaccine is available for some people. The over 75s and people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 are now being offered an additional booster vaccine this spring. Those who are eligible will be invited to book an appointment. You can find answers to common questions relating to the vaccine and booster here.
  • Current guidance will differ depending on where you live in the UK. However you should still stay at home and well away from others if you test positive. See below for detailed information about the guidance to follow.


Latest guidance 

With restrictions having eased across the UK, we would like to offer continued support to help you and those you look after manage the risk posed by COVID-19. 

Find out about general guidance on the Gov.uk site. In addition, here are relevant links to further official sources of guidance depending on where you live:

In England on 24 February 2022, all official COVID-19 restrictions ended. However, with cases still high, the guidance says that you should stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five days if you test positive for COVID-19. Face coverings are also still required in healthcare settings. You can read more here

In Scotland, all legal restrictions were lifted on 18 April. However it is still a requirement to wear face coverings in healthcare settings and it is advisable in busy, crowded places. You should continue to stay away from others if you test positive. For more details, see this guidance

In Northern Ireland, home working is still encouraged where possible. Face coverings are still strongly recommended in many public places and are required in healthcare settings unless you are exempt. You can find out about the current guidance and rules to follow here

In Wales, face coverings remain a legal requirement in healthcare settings until at least 9 May. The guidance also says that employees should not be ‘required or placed under pressure’ to return to the workplace, but working from home is no longer a legal requirement. You can find more details about the latest guidance here.

The UK booster programme has been accelerated to help protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable to the virus. If you haven’t had yours yet, you can try booking directly via the online booking system. Read more about the booster here.

What else should I be aware of?

It’s important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after to help manage the risk posed by COVID-19.

Symptoms

If you have a symptom of coronavirus, the advice is to stay at home and well away from others. Symptoms are now broader than those originally typically reported of a continuous cough, fever and lack of taste or smell. Cold and flu like symptoms, for example, may be indicators – see this list for more information.

PCR and lateral flow tests are no longer free of charge to the general public across much of the UK, but will remain available free for at risk groups. For more details see this page. If the test result is positive, you should advise those you have been close to in recent days straight away, arrange care cover if necessary and self-isolate. 

Do seek medical help if the symptoms become severe and difficult to manage. Further guidance can also be found here: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 

Getting help in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

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

Some restrictions are still in place. The rules may differ depending on where you are in the UK so  check your area.

What support is available to help if you have COVID-19?

On the NHS website, there is helpful guidance outlining what to do if you have COVID-19 and how to cope with different symptoms. See the guidance here.

If you are struggling to cope with the symptoms or for other reasons, do not hesitate to seek further advice by visiting 111 online or call 111. If you are experiencing any alarming or life-threatening symptoms such as extreme breathlessness or a seizure, call 999.

Further information and support

If you are visiting someone who is vulnerable, it is advisable to take every precaution possible such as wearing or postponing the visit if you have any cold like symptoms. In Scotland, proof of a negative test is required to visit someone in a hospital or care home or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

We 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.

For further support, 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.