COVID-19: guidance for first responders

Advice for first responders (as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act) and others where close contact may be required as part of their normal duties.

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First responders include those, defined as professionals and members of voluntary organisations, who as part of their normal roles, provide immediate assistance until further medical assistance arrives.

There may be further information specific to each country in the United Kingdom, as this guidance was written by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) primarily for an English health professional audience. To see if country specific information is available, please refer to Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales, or Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

Please note that this guidance is of a general nature. Employers should consider the specific conditions of each individual place of work and comply with all applicable legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Published 5 February 2020
Last updated 8 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the removal of the self-isolation regulations.

  2. Updated to reflect changes to advice for contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

  3. Updated guidance in line with changes to self-isolation requirements for contacts of people identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

  4. Updated in line with policy changes regarding exemption from self-isolation for those identified as a contact.

  5. Removed section on physical distancing and updated language in line with Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown.

  6. Updated HTML document.

  7. Updates to section 3 (the definition of a 'contact') and section 10 (advice for emergency service staff).

  8. Updated the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for individuals in the community with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result.

  9. Updated to include loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell as a symptom.

  10. Removed references to Border Force and Immigration Enforcement Officers while further updates are in production.

  11. Clarified sustained transmission in the community; specified use of PPE; added further advice on performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and handling the deceased.

  12. Updated guidance with revised case definition.

  13. Amendment to infection control measures for police, border force, and immigration enforcement officers.

  14. Updated specified countries and areas.

  15. Updated guidance for cleaning.

  16. First published.