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Stay at home – Ireland is at level 5.
Read about the
current government restrictions on gov.ie

If you're a close contact of a person that tests positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) you need to get tested for COVID-19.

You also need to restrict your movements (stay at home) for 14 days.

You can stop restricting your movements when both apply:

  • You have a negative test (COVID-19 not detected) 10 days after you were last in contact with the person who tested positive.
  • You do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

There is different advice if you have arrived in Ireland from abroad

Stay at home and avoid contact with other people and social situations.

You should also:

Children who are close contacts

The information on this page is for adults and children over the age of 13 who are told they are close contacts.

Read advice on what to do if your child is a close contact of COVID-19 in school or childcare

Essential healthcare workers

If you are an essential healthcare worker, phone your manager and occupational health department. Do not go to work until you have spoken to them.

Your COVID-19 test

If you are a close contact, you will get a text message with a:

  • link to the ‘Book a test’ webpage
  • 6-digit code to enter on the webpage

Most people will need 2 COVID-19 tests.

First test

When you book online, you will get a text message with an appointment date and details for your first COVID-19 test. Your first test appointment will be scheduled for as soon as possible. Stay at home and restrict your movements, even if you feel well.

Second test

Your second test will usually be scheduled for 10 days after you were last in contact with the person who tested positive. If your last contact with this person was more than 8 days ago, you will only have one test.

If you do not book a test online

Our contact tracing team will phone you and arrange testing over the phone if you:

  • decide not to book a test online
  • do not successfully book a test online

The quickest way to book your test is to book online. If you choose not to book your test online, you still need to stay at home and restrict your movements.

Do not phone your GP. They cannot arrange tests for close contacts. They can only arrange a test if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, self-isolate (stay at home) and phone your GP or GP out-of-hours service. They will tell you if you need a test.

Contact tracing

Close and casual contacts

Caring for someone who cannot self-isolate

If you are caring for someone who cannot self-isolate, you and the rest of the household should restrict your movements for 17 days.

Read more about caring for someone who cannot self-isolate

Watch a video on what it means to restrict your movements

What other people you live with need to do

If you feel well and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, the people you live with do not need to restrict their movements. They can continue to go to work, school, preschool or childcare as long as they do not have symptoms.

But if they have been told they are also a close contact of COVID-19, they need to restrict their movements.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and phone your GP. The people you live with will need to restrict their movements.

If your first test is negative

If your first test was less than 10 days after your last contact and is negative (COVID-19 not detected), you need to continue to restrict your movements for 14 days.

If your first test was at least 10 days after your last contact and you have no symptoms you can stop restricting your movements. You will not need a second test.

When you can stop restricting your movements

If your second test is negative

You can stop restricting your movements if you:

  • have a negative test (COVID-19 not detected) 10 days after your last contact with the person who tested positive
  • do not have any symptoms of COVID-19

If you develop symptoms after a negative test

If you get a negative test result and you then develop symptoms, self-isolate and phone your GP.

Tell your GP that you were tested as a close contact and you have since developed symptoms of COVID-19. The GP will discuss referring you for another free COVID-19 test.

Read more about self-isolation (staying in your room)

If a first or second test is positive

You will need to self-isolate if you test positive. 

Most people can stop self-isolating when both of these apply:

  • you have had no fever for 5 days
  • it has been 10 days since you first developed symptoms or from the date of your test if you did not have symptoms

Your close contacts will need to restrict their movements for at least 10 days from their last contact with you. You will get a call from a contact tracer to find out who you were in close contact with.

If symptoms of COVID-19 get worse

If you start to feel very unwell, phone your GP or GP out-of-hours. Particularly if your breathing changes or becomes difficult, or your cough gets worse.

If you are very short of breath and your GP is not available, call the emergency services on 112 or 999.

Find a GP

Find a GP out-of-hours

If you had a previous positive test and you are now a close contact of someone with COVID-19

You tested positive in the past 2 weeks

You do not need another test. If you receive a test appointment, you do not need to attend. Complete the 10 days of self-isolation (stay in your room).

You tested positive more than 12 weeks ago

If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 now
You will be referred for another test. You will need to restrict your movements for 14 days. You can stop restricting your movements if you have a negative test (COVID-19 not detected) 10 days or more after your last contact with them.

If you have new symptoms
You will be referred for another test. You need to self-isolate until you get the result of your test and further advice. If the test is negative, you will need to restrict your movements. Do this for 14 days from when you were last in contact with the person with COVID-19.

You tested positive more than 2 weeks ago and less than 12 weeks ago

If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 now
You do not need another test. You do not need to restrict your movements.

If you have new symptoms
You will be referred for another test. You need to self-isolate until you get the result of your test. If the test is negative you can stop restricting your movements when you are 48 hours with no symptoms.

The difference between self-isolating and restricted movements

Related topics

Close and casual contacts

Contact tracing

Test results

Last updated: 25 February 2021 at 12.10pm

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