Coronavirus: information and updates

Coronavirus health guidelines and risk

Coronavirus is more dangerous if you have certain health conditions. Find out how the government and NHS guidelines apply to you if you have health conditions or rely on others for support.

Warning If you’re in local lockdown

Rules may be different in your area.

Check GOV.UK


Call our helpline


To protect yourself and others, do not leave your home if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms. The NHS calls this ‘self-isolating’. 

Stay at home for at least:

  • 7 days if you have symptoms
  • 14 days if someone you live with has symptoms

Call 111 if you’re worried about symptoms or other health conditions that may put you at a higher risk.

Check if you have coronavirus symptoms (NHS)

People at higher risk

Your symptoms may be more serious if you get coronavirus if you are over 70, pregnant or have:

  • a lung condition like asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis
  • conditions that affect the brain and nerves like Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or Cerebral Palsy
  • diabetes
  • a heart problem
  • a kidney or liver disease
  • a spleen problem like sickle cell disease
  • a weakened immune system because of conditions, such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines like steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • a BMI of 40 or above (obese)

You must be strict with following social distancing guidelines if you're in the higher risk group.

Contact your GP or healthcare team if your condition is not listed and you’re worried about your risk.

Advice for people at higher risk (NHS)

People who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus

Coronavirus is more dangerous if you have a serious condition. You’re considered extremely vulnerable if you:

  • have a serious lung condition like cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition or are taking medicine where you’re more likely to get infections
  • have had an organ transplant
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer or are having certain cancer treatment
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

Warning The NHS should have contacted you

You should have received a letter or phone call if you’re considered extremely vulnerable.

Contact your GP or the NHS if you’re worried about your risk.

NHS 111 Online


The government will be changing the rules for people in England who are ‘shielding’ and staying home. They plan to change the guidance in stages, following the latest scientific evidence. The planned guidance may change if more people get coronavirus again.

You will still be ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus so keep checking government advice.

Shielding guidance (GOV.UK)

Easy Read shielding advice pdf (GOV.UK)

Shielding advice is different in Wales and is not changing with England:

Coronavirus shielding guidance ( 

Shielding advice from 6 July

In England, after 6 July you:

  • can meet up to 6 people outdoors. They can be from different households but you must keep strict social distancing.
  • no longer need to social distance with others in your household
  • can form a ‘support bubble’ with another household if you are an adult living alone or a single parent with children under 18

All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other's homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.

All the other shielding advice will stay the same until 1 August.

Shielding advice from 1 August

In England, after 1 August:

  • the government will no longer advise shielding, but you should still follow strict social distancing
  • you can do activities like going to shops, places of worship or exercising
  • government food and medicine boxes will stop but you can still get support from NHS volunteers and local authorities
  • you will still have access to priority supermarket delivery slots
  • you can go to work if you cannot work from home, as long as the workplace is following the guidance and is ‘coronavirus-safe’

If you feel uncertain about returning to work, speak to your employer to find out their policies on coronavirus changes. Agree a plan for returning to work, including any adjustments you need.

If you are concerned about support after 1 August, contact your local authority.

Contact your local authority (GOV.UK)

Updated shielding guidance (GOV.UK)

Getting essentials when you’re shielding

Ask someone to drop off food, supplies and medication to you, such as:

  • family members
  • friends or people in your community
  • carers or community organisations
  • voluntary organisations

Finding volunteers to help with essentials

If you live in England and do not have anyone to help you, register online for help. You’ll be asked for your NHS number but you can still register if you do not have it. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you or on a prescription.

Get government support if you’re extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (GOV.UK)

If you live in Wales and do not have anyone to help you, contact your local authority for support and to apply for a free weekly food box.

Help for the vulnerable from local authorities and voluntary groups (

Last reviewed by Scope on: 07/07/2020

Was this page helpful?

We're sorry to hear that.

Tell us how we can improve it

More help with coronavirus

Opens in a new windowOpens an external siteOpens an external site in a new window