The advice below is from the Department of Health, and is published on the Government of Ireland website at www.gov.ie This page was updated on 11/01/2021 at 12.23pm.
We are currently in Phase 5 of the government's roadmap for reopening society and business.
Please follow the latest Government advice on Level 5 restrictions.
Everyone should Stay Safe - you are urged to use your own judgement and take personal responsibility for protecting yourself and others.
Common symptoms include:
- a fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above)
- a cough - this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If you're confused about the differences between symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the cold and flu, the HSE has more information.
If you have symptoms
You may also need to be tested for COVID-19. Getting tested for COVID-19 is free.
To protect yourself:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty
- practice good respiratory hygiene, that is, when coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- maintain physical distancing, that is, leave at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself
The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.
Read a step-by-step guide from the HSE on how to clean your hands.
People over the age of the 70 or extremely medically vulnerable
As part of the easing of restrictions, the public health advice for those who have been cocooning has been updated.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has updated their guidance, and this is available online to support those who are cocooning, their families and carers.
It is not possible to eliminate all risk so everyone should exercise their own judgement regarding the extent to which the cocooning guidance applies to them.
What you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
If you do not have symptoms
Everyone in Ireland is urged to stay safe.
But you need to restrict your movements further if you:
- live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), but you feel well
- are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- have returned to Ireland from another country
You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days. But if the person you live with has had a test and it's negative, you don't need to wait 14 days.
You should still follow the advice for everyone - stay safe.
If you think you have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Visit www.hse.ie if you think you have been:
- in contact with someone confirmed as having COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- to a healthcare facility in another country where COVID-19 (Coronavirus) patients are being treated
You will be put in contact with your local Department of Public Health staff who will give you information and advice.
If you develop symptoms avoid contact with people by self-isolating and phone your GP or emergency department.
Services for Deaf Irish Sign Language users
You can access the Interpreting Service for Deaf People here.
See more Irish Sign Language videos about COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
How COVID-19 (Coronavirus) spreads
You can get the virus if you come into close contact with someone who has the virus. It is spread through droplets that come from your nose and mouth. For example, from someone who is talking loud, singing, shouting, coughing or sneezing.
You can also get the virus from surfaces, for example, when someone who has the virus sneezes. Droplets containing the virus can fall onto surfaces around them. If you touch that surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you could become infected too.
How long the virus can survive on surfaces
Common household disinfectants will kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant.
COVID-19 can survive for:
- up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel
- less than 4 hours on copper
- less than 24 hours on cardboard
More information on how COVID-19 spreads is available from the HSE.
Keeping well during the COVID-19 pandemic
Infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can be worrying. This can affect your mental health.
However, there are many things you can do to mind your mental health during times like this.
Stay safe guidelines
The Department of Health has developed guidelines to help you measure and maintain distance in your premises.
Public Health Advice Posters
We have developed public health advice posters that are available for you to download and display in a range of settings.
See the Gov.ie COVID-19 (Coronavirus) website