Parents are being encouraged to seek help and advice straight away if their child is unwell or injured. While children can catch COVID-19, they may not have symptoms and the virus is rarely serious for younger patients. If a child is unwell, parents are being advised, this is likely to be unrelated.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has produced a ‘traffic light’ guide for different symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, drowsiness, or a high temperature, saying which health services parents should contact.

If parents are unsure, they are advised to call NHS111. The NHS 111 online service can also be used for children over the age of five.

The national campaign, which launched on 24 April, calls on members of the public to contact their GP practice or NHS111 if they need medical help. It emphasises that people should go to hospital if they are told to do so and provides reassurance that the NHS will provide the care they need.

GP practices in Greater Manchester remain open but parents are asked to phone their practice in the first instance. They may be offered an online consultation or receive advice from a doctor or nurse over the phone. Suitable arrangements will be made if a child does need to be seen face to face. In some cases, this may not be at their usual practice location.

It is important that children still attend routine appointments, such as vaccinations, as normal if parents have been informed that it is going ahead.

The advice regarding coronavirus remains the same. Anyone who has symptoms of this illness (a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature) will need to self-isolate at home for 14 days along with other members of their household. They should not go to a GP practice, pharmacy or hospital. This is to help limit the spread of the virus.

It is still safe to go to hospital and there are strict infection prevention and control measures in place – such as clearly signposted areas for those with coronavirus symptoms, including a designated area in or just outside A&E departments and totally separate wards.