COVID-19 - resources for the general public

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the UK. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

Below are resources for families from the governments, health agencies and other organisations in the four nations.
Last modified
31 March 2020

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Updates according to date are listed at the bottom of the page.

Essential information

At RCPCH we understand this is a worrying time for children and their families. So we have put together useful guidance and advice from across the UK.

It is important that we all follow official guidance and information provided by the governments and health agencies so we can protect our families and other people who may become seriously ill if they are infected with COVID-19. It also helps our NHS healthcare workers by protecting them from the virus and stopping our NHS services from becoming overloaded. 

Key messages

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature or a continuous cough) stay at home for 7 days. If you live with other people they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got the symptoms. 
  • Avoid social interactions. Only leave your home for essential reasons. If you do go out always make sure you stay at least 2 metres away from other people. 
  • Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser. 
  • If your child has a medical condition they should continue to access treatment and attend medical appointments as recommended by their hospital, GP or healthcare professionals.

Below you can access the most up-to-date guidance in the nation where you live. 


Information for everyone

Resources for families of children with serious or complex health needs and disabilities




Northern Ireland

  • The Public Health Agency (PHA) has produced guidance which can be found on their website. This includes advice on social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • The most up-to-date information provided by the Department for Health in Northern Ireland is available on their website. 
  • There is also information on nidirect including advice of staying at home and self-isolation.
  • The Department of Health Northern Ireland has launched a new COVID-19 NI information app that provides advice and links to vital trusted information. 

Updates on this page

Updates in this version published (30 March 2020):

  • UK: link to RCPCH children and young people's health diary.
  • Families of children with serious or complex health needs and disabilities: guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • England: guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • Northern Ireland: new COVID-19 information app.

Updates in version published 26 March 2020:

  • UK: The UK Government has launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp.
  • For families of children with complex needs and disabilities: Paediatrician, Dr Max Davie, shares tips on YouTube to help people with ADHD stay well during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Updates in version published 25 March 2020:

  • UK: Link added to COVID-19 resources from Contact, a charity for families with disabled children; Full guidance added on staying at home and away from others.
  • England: YouTube guidance on self-isolation; information on diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 being free to all overseas visitors regardless of permission status.
  • Northern Ireland: nidirect guidance added.