Always ensure you are reading current COVID-19 information from reliable sources as guidance may change frequently.

This advice contains links to the website.  The information contained in these links is very useful but you should be aware that, on occasions, it includes further web links to information specific to England. 

Health advice

The Public Health Agency website has all the relevant information relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Northern Ireland and can be accessed here:

You can also download the COVID-19 NI app for your phone/tablet from either the Apple Store or the Play Store for Android phones/devices.


Social distancing

Everyone is advised to reduce the contact they have with others – referred to as social distancing.  It is important you know how to effectively do this when you are looking after someone.  The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people to follow the advice on social distancing as an essential part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and saving lives. To access further information on social distancing see links below:

PHA - social distancing - guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people


Social distancing is not the same as self-isolation.  Self-isolation is about staying at home if you or someone you live with is showing signs of COVID-19 and protecting others.  Guidance on how to self-isolate can be accessed here: - Covid-19 stay at home guidance

Shielding family members who are at risk

The family member you care for may be identified as being at more risk from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and they will have received a letter from their GP with advice to stay home and shield themselves from harm. The letter of advice from their GP includes a Freephone helpline which will put you in touch with voluntary services about advice and support they can offer.

Advice on how to shield the family member you care for can be accessed here:

NI Direct - Covid-19 advice for vulnerable people - Guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from Covid-19

A good source of information about infection control can be accessed here:

NISSC - Supporting good infection control

A new service set up by the Department for Communities aims to deliver a weekly box of mainly non-perishable goods directly to the door of vulnerable people. These boxes are for people who have been notified to shield by their GPs and who cannot afford food and do not have access to local support networks.

If you need this help contact the Freephone COVID-19 Community Helpline by telephone on 0808 802 0020; email [email protected] or text ACTION to 81025. It is available 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm.


What if your family members have symptoms?

If you suspect that the person you are looking after may have the symptoms of COVID-19, then you should phone 111 (this is a free phone number).

NHS 111 help you decide if you need to contact your GP.

Calling your GP is only necessary if you have:

  • an existing health condition;
  • problems with your immune system;
  • very serious symptoms.

Do not attend your GP surgery or emergency department in person before calling ahead and speaking with someone.

This information can be found on the Public Health Agency (PHA) website at:

Northern Ireland has full access to the NHS 111 helpline service on COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Helpful information about staying at home if you think someone has symptoms can be found at the following link. This includes information around cleaning, laundry, waste disposal and visitors to your home. - Covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance for households with possible coronavirus Covid-19 infection