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If you recently arrived in Ireland from South Africa or Brazil

If you arrived in Ireland from South Africa or Brazil:

Everyone you live with should restrict their movements (stay at home) for 14 days, even if your test result is negative.

This advice in place because of the spread of a new strain of COVID-19 in South Africa and Brazil. These strains are more easily spread than other strains, so there is a greater risk.


do not go for routine, non-urgent healthcare appointments during your 14 days of self-isolation. But get medical help in an emergency, if you need it.

do not visit nursing homes or residential care facilities until you have completed your self-isolation.

Getting a COVID-19 test

Call your GP for a free COVID-19 test, even if you do not have symptoms. If you don’t have a GP, call any GP and they can arrange this for you.

Tell them where you have travelled from. The test should be done 5 days after arrival in Ireland or as soon as possible after this.

Someone from the Department of Health will contact you. They will use the information on your passenger locator form to do this. They will give you advice about self-isolating and getting a COVID-19 test.

Positive test result

This advice is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and:

  • have recently travelled from South Africa or Brazil, or
  • live or physically work with someone who has travelled from South Africa or Brazil in the past 14 days

What you should do

Self-isolate (stay in your room) for 14 days.

What your close contacts should do

All of your close contacts will need a COVID-19 test. They should also self-isolate for 14 days.

Tell your close contacts to phone their GP and explain that they are a close contact of someone who travelled from South Africa or Brazil. The GP will prioritise them for a COVID-19 test even though we are not currently testing close contacts in general.

After 14 days self-isolating, your close contacts should be extra careful for a further week about:

If they develop any symptoms, they should self-isolate (stay in their room) immediately and phone their GP.

Close contacts of close contacts

If you live with a close contact of someone who has recently travelled from South Africa or Brazil and tested positive for COVID-19:

If you develop any symptoms, self-isolate (stay in your room) immediately and phone your GP.

Negative test result

If your result is negative (COVID-19 not detected), your close contacts do not need to be tested for COVID-19.

You must complete the full 14 days of self-isolation, even if your test result is negative.

The people you live with should continue to restrict their movements (stay at home) for 14 days. They should do this from the date they were last in contact with you.

If you had a private COVID-19 test

If you have already had a private COVID-19 test, you still need to complete 14 days of self-isolation, regardless of the result. You should also organise a repeat COVID-19 test through a GP. This will be a free test.

Find GP contact details

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19

Phone a GP to book a test for COVID-19 and tell them you have recently been in South Africa or Brazil and have developed symptoms of COVID-19. Do this even if your test result is negative (COVID-19 not detected).

If you don't have a GP you can call any GP or GP out of hours service.

You can also call our COVID-19 helpline for advice.

New strain of COVID-19

There has been a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Brazil and South Africa. Many of these cases are linked to a new strain of COVID-19.

All viruses mutate and change. This leads to new strains of the virus. Early analysis of these new strains of COVID-19 suggests that they are significantly more transmissible than other strains.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that:

  • these new strains lead to a more severe COVID-19 infection
  • the COVID-19 vaccines will be less effective

Related topics

The difference between self-isolation and restricted movements

How COVID-19 is spread

What happens during the COVID-19 test

Last updated: 26 January 2021 at 5.15pm

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