Practical advice on Covid-19 (Coronavirus) spread


The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) a public health emergency of international concern, with the HSE saying that Ireland is well positioned to detect and respond to cases.

Health information, advice and guidelines are being published and updated daily, with the most recent being a confirmed Covid-19 case in the east of the country at a secondary school. “The principal, staff and parents of pupils of this school have been notified. Following risk assessment, all pupils and teachers are being treated as close contacts of the confirmed case. The school will close for the duration of the incubation period, which is 14 days.”

Public Health protocols, similar to those used to respond to previous incidents of pandemic influenza, SARS and MERS, have been in place since January and are operating effectively.



The general public are advised to follow advice from the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to protect their health.

Any person concerned that they may have symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) should immediately isolate themselves from others and phone their GP.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of Covid-19 to show. These may include a developing a cough, a shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, or a high temperature. The virus can also cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.



Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can be spread:

  • Advise is being given to everyone to help prevent the spread of the virus.

    This includes washing hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, and persons covering their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing and sneezing.

    If you have been to one of the places listed above in the last 14 days and you are not feeling well, check if you have symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). These are fever (high temperature), cough or difficulty breathing.

    If a person does have symptoms of Coronavirus they should phone your doctor or emergency department (ED) immediately. Do not visit a doctor or ED - phone them first. This is so as not to accidentally put other people at risk.

    Avoid contact with other people by self-isolating.

    The virus may only survive a few hours if someone who has it coughs or sneezes on a surface. Simple household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant.



    The risk of catching Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland is still low. This may change. However, most people may continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team meanwhile has said that anyone who has been to an affected region in the past 14 days and is experiencing symptoms should self-isolate and call their GP.

    Anyone who has been to an affected region in the past 14 days, and are well, should visit for advice.

    There are presently no entry restrictions to Ireland.

    Anyone who has specific concerns regarding Irish citizens currently in any affected areas can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-6131733.

    The following areas are affected with a spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus):



      The Department of Education says doctors are available to liaise with schools and advise on precautions if staff or students have concerns.

      For those who have travelled to affected regions in the past 14 days and are now feeling unwell, the advice is to remain at home and contact their GP.

      People are only advised by the HSE to self-quarantine if they feel unwell after returning from the affected areas.

      Schools and third-level institutions are being reminded that students can best protect themselves from contracting Covid-19 by regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.



      There is currently no vaccine to treat or protect against Covid-19 (Coronavirus). However, many of the symptoms can be treated.

      Antibiotics do not work against Covid-19 (Coronavirus) or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.

      Currently, the flu poses a greater risk to life in Ireland than Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

      Your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms.



      Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, said: “The HSE is well-prepared and is working to inform any contacts the patient had in order to prevent transmission.

      “Covid-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.

      “Close contact involves either face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person. The risk of transmission through casual contact is low.”



      It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) to show.

      Symptoms may include:

      • Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can also cause more severe illness, including:

        • Things you can do to protect yourself from getting Covid-19 (Coronavirus) include:

          • Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub: