Coronavirus - Guidance for unpaid carers

National and local advice and support for carers during the Coronavirus pandemic.


Find more Coronavirus-related information on

If you are worried about your health or somebody you care for, use the NHS 111 online 

If you (or their) symptoms become severe, call 111 and let them know you are a carer.

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.


You may still be able to get free Covid-19 rapid lateral flow tests from the NHS if you:

  • have a health condition, which means you're eligible for Covid-19 treatment
  • work in healthcare settings or in a hospice

If you are eligible for Covid-19 treatments, you can pick up free Covid-19 rapid lateral flow tests from your local pharmacy. Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf, for example, a friend, relative, or carer.

Anyone collecting free tests on your behalf needs to give the pharmacy your details, including your:

  • full name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • NHS number
  • medical condition(s) to confirm your eligibility

If you’ve been sent a letter or email from the NHS about Covid-19 treatments, this should be shown to the pharmacy to help confirm your eligibility more easily.

If you want to get tested but are not eligible for free rapid lateral flow tests, you need to pay for the test yourself. You can buy rapid lateral flow tests from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

Vaccinations for unpaid carers

All adults, including unpaid carers, aged 16 and over are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine which can be booked via the National Booking Service

Find out more about seasonal vaccinations and winter health and getting a Covid-19 vaccine

Good hygiene advice

Even with vaccinations, there remains a risk of transmission, therefore good hygiene practice remains important.

Following measures such as:

  • frequent hand-washing, including washing your hands on arrival, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • minimising physical contact where possible
  • not visiting the person you care for if you are unwell and instead help to make alternative arrangements for the person’s care. See our planning for emergencies and the future page.
  • cleaning surfaces regularly
  • covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • putting used tissues in the bin immediately and washing your hands afterwards

Find out more about living safely with respiratory infections, including Covid-19

Supporting those who are finding self-isolating difficult

Self-isolating can be difficult for us all. For people who don't understand the reasons behind why they or their carers are isolating, it is likely to be even more difficult.

You can find some home-based, creative ways to support good mental health by visiting these links:

Additional information

Additional useful advice and information for carers from Carers UK