If you get a positive PCR test result for COVID-19

If you get a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 (coronavirus), you need to self-isolate (stay in your room) for 7 days.

There is a high risk you could spread the virus to other people. Do this even if you completed your first round of COVID-19 vaccination, had a booster or had a positive PCR test in the past.

If you are at the highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19, there are new treatments that may be suitable for you.

If you have a vaccine appointment

Do not go to a vaccine appointment if you currently have COVID-19 (confirmed by a PCR or antigen test).

You should wait:

  • 4 months if you are due to get a booster dose or additional dose (immunocompromised)
  • 4 weeks if you are due to get your first round of COVID-19 vaccination

If your symptoms get worse

If you start to feel very unwell, phone your GP or GP out-of-hours. Do this 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

How long to self-isolate

You should self-isolate (stay in your room) as soon as you notice symptoms of COVID-19 or get a positive COVID-19 test result.

You need to self-isolate for 7 full days, including day 7 itself.

Start from the date you first had symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, it's 7 days from the date of your first positive result.

You can stop isolating after 7 days if your symptoms are fully or mostly gone for the last 48 hours.

It's OK to stop self-isolating even if you have a mild cough or changes to your sense of smell – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

Read about how to self-isolate

After your 7 days of self-isolation

When you stop self-isolating after 7 days, you need to take extra care for another 3 days to reduce the risk of passing on COVID-19.

Be especially careful in places that are:

  • crowded
  • enclosed
  • poorly ventilated
  • hard to avoid close contact with people

You should:

There is separate advice for children who are isolating

People you live with

You need to provide details of people you live with if they:

  • have a weak immune system (immunocompromised)
  • have a high risk medical condition

You can do this on the list your contacts website.

How long to go back

If you had symptoms of COVID-19 before your test, include people you live with from 48 hours before you developed symptoms.

If you did not have symptoms of COVID-19 before your test, include people you live with from 24 hours before your test.


You can request a certificate of recovery from 11 days after your positive PCR test. These certificates are issued by the Government, not by the HSE.

Request a COVID-19 recovery certificate on gov.ie

Last updated: 8 September 2022 at 4pm