How to self-isolate (stay in your room)

Self-isolation (stay in your room) means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. This includes the people you live with.

If you live with other people, stay on your own in a room with a window you can open, if possible. Ask other people to go to the shop or pharmacy for you.

Only leave your house if you need urgent medical help, such as going to hospital.

When to self-isolate

You should self-isolate when there is a high risk you could spread the virus to other people.

Self-isolate if you:

If you are being tested as a close contact and you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you should restrict your movements. You will only need to self-isolate if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

The difference between self-isolating and restricting movements

If you travel to Ireland

There is new, stricter advice in place if you arrive in Ireland from a high risk country - see a list on This is because of the spread of a new strain of COVID-19 that is active in those countries.

Find out what you should do if you recently arrived in Ireland from a high risk country

You do not need to self-isolate if you arrive in Ireland from a country that is not on the high-risk list and have no symptoms. But you may need to restrict your movements.

Follow the travel advice from

How to self-isolate


  • Stay at home, in a room with a window you can open.

  • Keep away from other people - especially older people or anyone with a long-term medical condition.

  • Phone your GP to see if you need a test for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

  • Use a different bathroom to others in your household, if possible.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue - clean your hands properly after.

  • Ask friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food or supplies - if they stand back from the door, you can speak with them.

  • Wash your hands properly and often.

  • Use your own towel - do not share a towel with others.

  • Clean your room every day with a household cleaner or disinfectant.


  • Do not go outside unless you have your own outdoor space where you can get some fresh air away from other people.

  • Do not go to work, school, religious services or public areas.

  • Do not go to the shops or pharmacy for any reason - ask them to deliver or ask someone to go for you.

  • Do not share your things. For example, food, dishes, drinking glasses or other household items.

  • Do not use public transport or taxis.

  • Do not have any visitors to your home.

Read about treating COVID-19 symptoms at home

Read about minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you start to feel unwell

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

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 if:

  • you are very short of breath and your GP is not available

Do not go to your GP or to a pharmacy for any reason.

Last updated: 23 February 2021 at 10.30am