Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Pharmacist updates and information

We're updating this resource daily.
Email [email protected] if we've missed anything or it needs updating.

Get the latest developments from the NHS and pharmacy bodies, as well as the implications for pharmacists and UK medicines supply.

For advice and answers to your questions about coronavirus, contact our One-to-One Support team on 0207 572 2737, email [email protected] or tweet @RPSSupport, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

00228 001a 2003 COVID19 Pharmacy Poster ENGLAND WEB


Print our Politeness & Patience poster for your pharmacy.

(includes printer-friendly black & white versions)

Download a letter to take advantage of supermarket priority shopping hours.

Ravi's Record: 27 March

RPS Director for England, Ravi Sharma, gives his regular personal update on the coronavirus crisis.

See Ravi's previous updates

COVID-19 - what do I need to know?

Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 advice for healthcare professionals from: 

Provide the most up to date guidance to the public on COVID-19: 

If you have a new continuous cough and/or high temperature, however mild:

  • Stay at home for seven days
  • Cohabitees need to stay at home for 14 days
  • Only contact NHS 111 if your symptoms worsen or you’re no better after seven days
  • For a medical emergency dial 999.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus: 

  • Wash your hands regularly 
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your sleeve 
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces 
  • Keep two metres apart from other people.

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Recognising and treating COVID-19

Coronavirus symptoms

SYMPTOMS Coronavirus
(from mild to severe)
Cold Flu Hayfever
Fever (greater than 37.8 degree C) Common Rare Common    No
Cough Common (usually dry and continuous) Mild  Common (usually dry) Sometimes (usually dry)
Shortness of breath Sometimes No No No
Headache Sometimes Rare Common Sometimes
Sore throat Sometimes Common Sometimes Itchy throat
Runny/stuffy nose Rare Common Sometimes Common
Sneezing No Common No Common
Aches and pains Sometimes Common Common No
Fatigue Sometimes Sometimes Common Sometimes
Diarrhoea Rare No Sometimes (for children) No


There is currently no specific treatment or vaccine available for coronavirus.

Treatment should try to relieve the symptoms of coronavirus, so advise people to use the following (if clinically suitable):

  • Paracetamol for high temperature, aches and pains - follow the directions on the packet and don't exceed the recommended dose
  • Cough medicines or natural remedies like honey and lemon or salt water gargling  
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration - urine should be a pale clear colour.
  • Stock plenty of tissues etc
Remember: antibiotics do not help with viral infections such as COVID-19, they only help with bacterial infections.

See NHS pages on cold and flu for further information or PJ focus on cold and flu

Encourage people to use the NHS 111 online tool to check symptoms and when to refer for England, Scotland and Wales

Avoid the spread of coronavirus

Stay in self-isolation until you have recovered - see stay at home guide and social distancing and vulnerable adults and shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

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Information for pharmacists and teams

Coronavirus - COVID-19

Information for Pharmacists and Teams has moved.

Go to the new page.

Information for the public


Public Health England have stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you need to speak to a healthcare professional, call them
  • If you live alone and have a new persistent cough or a high temperature - even if your symptoms are mild - stay at home for seven days
  • If you live with others, they must stay at home for 14 days
  • Avoid close contact – try to keep at least two metres away from people you live with, especially older people and those with underlying health conditions 
  • If you live with a vulnerable person, see if they can stay with friends or family during self-isolation

Stopping the spread of coronavirus

  • Wash your hands regularly using soap and water especially after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so, when you get to work or arrive home and before you eat or handle food
  • Clean surfaces you touch regularly
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or your sleeve
  • Dispose of tissues immediately and wash your hands or use sanitiser afterwards
  • Plan ahead - ask for help from your employer, friends and family to get what you need during an isolation period, do not stockpile food and essential items.
  • Seek help only if necessary - if your symptoms worsen or you are no better after seven days, call NHS 111 or use NHS 111 online where possible. Only dial 999 if it’s a medical emergency.
  • Stay up-to-date - use recognised information sources only e.g the free Government coronavirus  information service on WhatsApp - add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and message the word 'hi' in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Facemasks - the advice from Public Health authorities does not recommend the use of face masks outside clinical settings.

For more information, visit the PHE UK-wide public information campaign and next stage public information campaign.

Washing your hands

Washing your hands properly should take 20 seconds. Our step-by-step guide shows how long each step should take. Give it a go!


Visit our handwashing guide.

Latest News


Talk To Us

FRIDAY 27: Safeguarding the wellbeing of pharmacists and their teams during these unprecedented times is paramount. Join us on Twitter at 7pm for a chat hosted by Robbie Turner, RPS Director of Pharmacy and Member Experience, Danielle Hunt, Chief Executive, Pharmacist Support and Harpreet Chana, Foudner, Mental Wealth Academy.

TAKE PART: follow #RPSCovid19 hosted by @RobbieMTurner @PharmaSupport and @harpreetkchana 

Listen to PrezCast #5 - The challenge of coronavirus

As the coronavirus crisis continues, RPS President Sandra Gidley spoke to Regina from our Support Team about the challenges facing pharmacists - and how the RPS can help.

Listen to PharmSci Today #7 - coronavirus treatments anda  vaccine

Professor Gino Martini, RPS Chief Scientist, talks to RPS Director of Pharmacy and Member Experience, Robbie Turner, about the threat of coronavirus, looking at the prospects for treatments and a vaccine.

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Help and advice for members


Contact our dedicated Professional Support Service

0207 572 2737 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm)

[email protected]

Tweet to RPS Support

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Additional links

England England

CMO and CPhO letters


Scotland Scotland

CMO and CPhO letters

Hospital pharmacy Hospital pharmacy

Community pharmacy Community pharmacy

Homecare pharmacy Homecare pharmacy

International International


Guidance is available on the FIP website, this includes:

  • FIP position statement - on the association between the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (including ibuprofen), ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and corticosteroids, and an increased risk of coronavirus/COVID-19 infection or disease severity
  • Guidance documents:
    • COVID-19: Clinical information and treatment guidelines
    • COVID-19: Guidelines for pharmacists and the pharmacy workforce
  • Summary guidance sheets:
    • COVID-19 transmission and incubation
    • Community pharmacy interventions and patient counselling
    • Pharmacy operations and facilities: ensuring safety for all and continuity of service
    • Community pharmacy procedures
    • Community pharmacy contingency plans
    • Patient isolation and referral
    • Cleaning and disinfection management
    • Treatment guidelines and medicines to be stocked
    • Use of masks
    • Notice to community pharmacy patients and customers

RPS - policy, guidance and e-Library RPS - policy, guidance and e-Library


COVID-19 related guidance


Our e-Library contains some useful e-books on business continuity, the first specifically relating to pandemics, the second a general text:

  • Business Continuity and the Pandemic Threat: Potentially the biggest survival challenge facing organisations (Published 2016)
  • Business Continuity Planning: A project management approach (published 2016)

There are also two e-books on pandemics:

  • Influenza and Public Health: Learning from past pandemics (published 2010)
  • Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know (published 2013)


Resources and advice from other royal colleges Resources and advice from other royal colleges