COVID-19 advice England

Last updated on: 14 January 2021

Each of the devolved nations has its own approach to handling the COVID-19 crisis. Here you’ll find the specific details for people living in England. 


All of England is currently under lockdown restrictions. Find out more information about what you can and cannot do during lockdown

COVID-19 vaccines

There’s a UK-wide plan to prioritise certain groups to be vaccinated first. Read more about priority groups.

In England, new NHS Vaccination Centres, pharmacy-led pilot sites, GP-led and hospital services are being set up to deliver vaccines.

Letters are being sent out to those on the priority list for vaccination. Options may include one of the new centres or if not convenient, you may be offered the jab at one of your local vaccination centres.

People considered ‘clinically extremely vulnerable' have the same priority as people aged 70 and over. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine and you should not call your GP. If you’re not sure that the NHS has the right information about your COVID-19 risk level, then you should get in touch with your GP.

Read the latest guidance: COVID-19 vaccines - your questions answered.


Read the latest shielding guidance if you are clinically extremely vulnerable. Everyone on the shielding list should get a letter confirming the latest advice before 17 January.

This information is designed to offer practical advice to help people protect themselves. This reflects the latest advice from senior clinicians, based on our current understanding of the virus.

  • Local support - find out what extra help is available from your local council, if you are now shielding.

  • Shielding note -  if you're in the at risk group, find out how to get a shielding note for your employer or the Department of Work and pensions for statutory sick pay (SSP).

  • Vitamin D supplements - if you're in the clinically extremely vulnerable group and you live in England, you are eligible for free vitamin D supplements throughout winter. You can make 1 application for vitamin D supplements. You need to apply before Sunday 21 February 2021.

    Find out more about the other benefits vitamin D has for arthritis.

Taking extra care and strict social distancing

If you are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group and do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by maintaining strict social distancing. This includes:

  • Keeping two metres away from people not in your household or support bubble and avoid face to face contact
  • Working from home
  • Avoiding large gatherings
  • Washing your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser outside your home if you’ve touched other surfaces

Can I get support with shopping and prescriptions?

Shop online if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you. The NHS volunteer responders scheme can help with delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essential items to you if you need it. You will still be eligible for priority supermarket slots.

If you cannot access food contact your local council to find out what support is available in your area. If you are receiving priority access to supermarket deliveries this will continue.

You can register and request a priority supermarket delivery slot (if you haven't already) or get help with shopping. Register yourself or someone else for this support.

You are encouraged, in the first instance, to ask a friend, family member, carer or a volunteer (for example, one of the NHS Volunteer Responders) to collect your medicines for you.

If none of these are available, contact your pharmacy to inform them you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered. They will arrange this free of charge. Read more information from the NHS about ordering a repeat prescription online.

If you have to go to shops or to a pharmacy, try to go at a quieter time of day. 

Meeting other people and socially distancing

Read the GOV UK guidance about who you can meet and what you can and can't do.

Social distancing means staying at home except for a few specific purposes. These include work (if you can’t work at home), exercise, collecting food or medical supplies, receiving essential healthcare or providing care for someone vulnerable.

When you do need to leave your home try, wherever possible, to keep at least two metres from anyone who is not a member of your own household.

Hygiene is also important. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water; when these aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitiser gel instead.

What about face masks?

The Government recommends that you consider some form of facial covering for short periods when entering confined spaces. Wearing a face mask or face covering is mandatory in shops, stations, post offices, banks and supermarkets. Face masks are also mandatory on public transport. Read more about when to wear face coverings and how to make your own.

Face coverings should not be used in place of physical distancing and good hygiene.


You should self-isolate if you or somebody else in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus. This means not leaving your home for any reason and not having visitors, unless it’s for essential medical care. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to the testing website to arrange. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You’ll need to arrange for food and essential supplies to be delivered and these should be left at your door to minimise contact with the delivery person.

Read the Gov UK guidance on self-isolating.

Staying safe at work

Read the latest guidance for employers and employees to keep safe in the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Check out our dedicated resources about COVID-19 - employment and work.

Further information

If you are struggling because of coronavirus and need help with finances, work or your wellbeing, find our what help you can get on Gov UK.

We're here for you

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you.

    • You can call our free Helpline on 0800 5200 520, or email (Mon-Fri 9am – 8pm).
    • COVA, our COVID-19 virtual assistant also provides fast, easy access to our trusted information, 24/7. 
    • Connect with other people with arthritis to share experiences on our online community.

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