Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing unpaid care

Information for people who are caring, unpaid, for friends or family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This publication was withdrawn on

The information in this guidance has been superseded by Infection prevention and control in adult social care: COVID-19 supplement.

Applies to England



Guidance for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who cannot cope without their support. This may be because they have a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, mental health condition or an addiction.

The guidance may also be helpful for those under 25 (young carers and young adult carers) who provide care for someone.

Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 15 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the changes made to coronavirus restrictions from 27 January 2022. These changes include face coverings, personal protective equipment and testing.

  2. Updated with new guidance on daily testing for contacts of positive cases. Included a new section on face coverings and updated information regarding COVID-19 booster eligibility.

  3. Updated 'Guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family’ throughout in line with the latest clinical advice from UKHSA, and in alignment with other policy changes relevant to unpaid carers. Please refer to the summary change note in the guidance for a full breakdown of all updates.

  4. Amendments to the guidance on making alternative arrangements to care when the carer or the person they care for has symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test or is a close contact of someone with a positive test result.

  5. Updated to reflect the lifting of restrictions as part of step 4 of the roadmap. The easy-read and translated versions have been removed temporarily.

  6. Added translations of the guidance in Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Punjabi (Gurmukhi and Shamukhi), Slovak, Somali, Urdu and Welsh. Also added easy-read and large-print versions in English.

  7. Updates made to guidance in line with minor changes on the 21st June in restrictions.

  8. Under 'Making alternative arrangements for care', removed reference to shielding.

  9. Updated to reflect the changes to the coronavirus restrictions came into effect on 17 May.

  10. Updated end date for free PPE offer to the end of March 2022.

  11. Updated to reflect that changes to the coronavirus restrictions came into effect on 12 April.

  12. Updated to reflect changes to the coronavirus restrictions that came into effect on 29 March.

  13. Updated to include guidance for young carers.

  14. Updated the personal protective equipment (PPE) section with guidance about recommended PPE for unpaid carers who do not live with the person or people they care for.

  15. Updated to reflect national lockdown stay at home guidance.

  16. Updated the guidance about local restrictions tiers. This includes information about accessing support, including forming a support bubble and getting access to breaks. Updated the guidance about what people should do if they or the person they care for has symptoms or tests positive in different situations.

  17. Updated guidance on face coverings and shielding. Also updated links to 'get a test to check if you have coronavirus'.

  18. Updated the guidance on face coverings, face masks and protective clothing. The following information has been added: examples of essential care under 'Caring for someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable'; guidance on how to get tested; and contact details for NHS Volunteer Responders.

  19. First published.