Restricted movement and self-isolation for COVID-19

Introduction

In certain circumstances, you may need to restrict your movements to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. In other circumstances, you may need to self-isolate.

Restricting your movements means staying at home to avoid contact with other people. You are advised to do this if you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 or if you live with someone who has symptoms. You may also be advised to restrict your movements if you travel from another country. Sometimes this is referred to as quarantining. Read more below about how and when you should restrict your movements.

Self-isolation (staying in your room) means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. This includes the people you live with. You should self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a positive test result. You may also be advised to self-isolate if you travel from certain other countries or you are a close contact of someone who tested positive and travelled from those countries. Read more below about how and when you should self-isolate.

If you are aged over 70, or you are at very high risk from COVID-19, read our information on cocooning.

Restricted movement

You should restrict your movements for 14 days if you:

  • Are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, but you feel well.
  • Arrive in Ireland from another country. Some categories of travellers are not requested to restrict movements, others should self-isolate. Follow the advice on what you need to do if you travel to Ireland.

If you are a close contact of a person who tests positive, you must restrict your movements for 14 days from when you were in contact with the person. You must do this even if you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. This is because it can take up to 14 days for COVID-19 to show up in your system after you have been exposed to it.

If you are restricting your movements because you live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, if they get a negative test result you no longer need to restrict 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 from when they first developed symptoms. The website hse.ie has more information about caring for someone who is in self-isolation.

If you are restricting your movements because you have travelled to Ireland, follow the advice on what you need to do if you travel to Ireland.

How to restrict your movements

You should avoid contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. You should also avoid:

  • Going to work, unless you work alone and can completely avoid other people
  • Going to school or college
  • Using public transport
  • Having visitors at your home
  • Visiting others, even if you usually provide care for them
  • Going to the shops or pharmacy, unless it's absolutely necessary
  • Meeting with older people, pregnant women or anyone with a long-term medical condition
  • Going to gatherings such as weddings or funerals

You can go outside to exercise alone, keeping a distance of 2 metres from other people.

Visit hse.ie for further information on restricting your movements.

Self-isolation

You will need to self-isolate if:

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms or
  • You have a positive test result

In most cases, you can stop self-isolation if you have had no fever for 5 days and it has been 10 days since you first developed symptoms.

If you are in long-term residential care or you recently left hospital after treatment for COVID-19, you should wait for 14 days since you first had symptoms and for 5 days without fever.

If you had symptoms of COVID-19 and you get a negative test result, you should continue to self-isolate until you have not had any symptoms for 48 hours.

If you have no symptoms but have tested positive because you are a close contact of a confirmed case, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your test.

If you recently arrived into Ireland from Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales), South Africa or South America you should self-isolate and follow the travel advice for travellers from Great Britain, South Africa or South America.

If you are a close contact of someone who arrived into Ireland from Great Britain, South Africa or South America and who tested positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate and phone a GP. Follow the HSE advice on self-isolation.

How to self-isolate

You should completely avoid contact with other people. You should also avoid:

  • Going outside unless you have your own outdoor space
  • Going to work, school, religious services or public areas
  • Sharing items
  • Using public transport or taxis
  • Inviting visitors to your home

Visit hse.ie for further information about how to self-isolate, including what to do if you are living with other people and what to do if you are living alone. You can also read about how to care for someone who is self-isolating.

Page edited: 18 January 2021