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If you're a close contact of a person that tests positive for COVID-19 you must restrict your movements (stay at home) for 14 days. Do this from when you were last in contact with that person.

You must also:

Children over the age of 13

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, the HSE contact tracing team will contact you. They will give you advice and arrange a free test.

Because of the rise in cases, it may take a number of days for the contact tracing team to contact you. Please have your phone on and be available to take the call.

You will get a text message with details of your test appointment. Do not phone your GP. They cannot arrange tests for close contacts.

Read more about contact tracing.

Read more about close and casual contacts.

Restrict your movements (stay at home)

If you're a close contact of a person that tested positive for COVID-19 you must restrict your movements for 14 days. Do this from when you were last in contact with that person.

Stay at home and avoid contact with other people and social situations. This is sometimes called quarantine.

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

Read more about restricting your movements.

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 test is negative

If your test is negative, you still need to restrict your movements for 14 days or until a date given to you by the HSE.

This is because it can take up to 14 days to develop COVID-19 infection.

Second tests for close contacts who test negative

If you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19 you will get at least one test. You may be referred for a second test. This is because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to show up in your system after you have been exposed to it.

The second test will be 7 days after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19. If this is close to when you had your first test, you will only have 1 test.

If both of your tests are negative, you will still need to restrict your movements for 14 days or until a date given to you by the HSE.

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 coronavirus test.

Read more about self-isolation (stay in your room).

If your test is positive

You will need to self-isolate if you test positive. You can stop self-isolating 10 days from the date of the test.

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

Your close contacts will need to restrict their movements for 14 days. You will get a call from a contact tracer to find out who you were in close contact with.

Caring for someone who can't 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 what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

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 not be referred for another test. This is because the test result might still be positive from the time you had COVID-19. You will need to restrict your movements for 14 days from when you were last in contact with the person with COVID.

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: 16 November at 12.35pm

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