If you are a close contact of COVID-19

If you're a close contact of a person that tests positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) and you are not fully vaccinated you need to:

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.

Follow the advice on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

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

If you are a close contact and you have received a COVID-19 vaccine

You do not need to restrict your movements or be tested for COVID-19 if it is more than:

  • 7 days after your 2nd Pfizer-BioNTech dose
  • 14 days after your 2nd Moderna dose
  • 14 days after the Janssen vaccine
  • 15 days after your 2nd AstraZeneca dose

But you may not get the same level of protection from the vaccine as other people if you:

  • are immunocompromised due to disease or treatment
  • have cancer
  • have chronic kidney disease

A member of the contact tracing team will advise you on what you need to do when they phone you.

Read about a weak immune system and COVID-19

Prevent the spread of COVID-19

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and get a COVID-19 test.

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.

1st test

When you book online, you will get a text message with an appointment date and details for your 1st COVID-19 test. Your 1st test appointment will be scheduled for as soon as possible. Stay at home and restrict your movements, even if you feel well.

2nd test

Your 2nd 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 1 test.

If you do not book a test online

The quickest way to book your test is to book online. If you don't book online, stay at home and restrict your movements. The contact tracing team will phone you to arrange a test.

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 get a COVID-19 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.

Prevent the spread of COVID-19

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and get a COVID-19 test. The people you live with will need to restrict their movements.

If your 1st test is negative

If your 1st 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 1st 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 2nd test.

When you can stop restricting your movements

If your 2nd 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 get a COVID-19 test.

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

If a 1st or 2nd 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.

Don't wait to get help

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

If you had a previous positive test and you are a close contact

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 9 months ago

If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 now
You will:

  • be referred for another test
  • 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
  • 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 9 months 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

Supports

There is a wide range of supports available for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include:

  • community support from local authorities
  • financial and employment supports
  • mental health supports and services
  • support if you cannot self-isolate at home
  • helplines for Irish Travellers and Roma

Read more about supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Last updated: 21 June 2021 at 11.15pm