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We are at full capacity for COVID-19 tests and need to prioritise people who have symptoms. Close contacts will not be tested during this time. If you are a close contact you need to restrict your movements (stay at home), even if you feel well. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 self-isolate (stay in your room) and phone your GP for further advice.

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

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.

COVID-19 testing

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms, self-isolate (stay at home) and phone your GP. Your GP will tell you if you need a test.

GP out-of-hours services can also arrange a test.

Close contacts of travellers from Great Britain or South Africa

If you are a close contact of someone who tested positive after arriving into Ireland from Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) or South Africa, phone your GP. They will prioritise you for a COVID-19 test even though we are not currently testing close contacts in general.

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.

Read more about restricting your movements.

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 test is negative

If your test is negative (COVID-19 not detected), you still need to restrict your movements for 14 days. This is because it can take up to 14 days to develop COVID-19 infection.

Read about when you can stop restricting your movements.

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 (stay in your room).

If your 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 14 days. 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 more than 12 weeks ago

You need to restrict your movements for 14 days.

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 to restrict your movements.

If you have new symptoms
You need to restrict your movements.

Read about the difference between self-isolating and restricted movements.

Related topics

Close and casual contacts

Contact tracing

Test results

Last updated: 4 January 2021 at 5.05pm

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