Self-isolation (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. It is sometimes called self-quarantine.

You should self-isolate when there is a high risk you could spread COVID-19 (coronavirus) to other people.

If you live with other people, stay on your own in a room with a window you can open, if possible. 

Do not go outside. Only leave your house if you need urgent medical help, such as going to hospital. Ask other people to go to the shop or pharmacy for you.

Read more about how to self-isolate

When to self-isolate

Even when you are fully vaccinated, self-isolate if you:

  • have symptoms of COVID-19
  • are waiting for a test appointment and your test results, if you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • have had a positive test result for COVID-19, even if you have mild symptoms or no symptoms
What we mean by fully vaccinated against COVID-19

You are fully vaccinated:

  • 7 days after your second Pfizer/BioNTech dose - also known as ‘Comirnaty’
  • 15 days after your second AstraZeneca dose - this vaccine may be called ‘Vaxzevria’ or ‘Covishield’
  • 14 days after your second Moderna dose - also known as ‘Spikevax’
  • 14 days after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘Janssen’ - this is a single dose vaccine

You may also need to self-isolate if you:

Follow the international travel advice and rules from

Close contacts

If you are a close contact, restrict your movements (stay at home) if you:

  • are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • have not had COVID-19 in the past 9 months

You will only need to self-isolate if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

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

  • 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 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 things like food, dishes or other household items

  • do not use public transport or taxis

  • do not have any visitors to your home

Read about what to do if you live with other people and are self-isolating

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. Do not go to your GP or to a pharmacy in person.

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 if:

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

When you can stop self-isolating

Most people can stop self-isolating when both of these apply:

  • You have had no fever for 5 days.
  • It has been 10 days since you first developed symptoms.

Stopping self-isolation means that you can return to your normal activities including going to work. 

You do not need to be tested again unless you develop symptoms in the future or become a close contact.

Close contacts with no symptoms

If you are a close contact with no symptoms who tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to self-isolate.

But you can stop self-isolating 10 days from the date of your test if you do not develop any symptoms of COVID-19.

Travel without proof of vaccination or recovery

If you are self-isolating because of international travel rules, you can stop self-isolating:

  • 14 days after you arrive into Ireland, as long as you do not develop symptoms
  • if you get a negative or not detected PCR test result at least 5 days after you arrive in Ireland - you can book this test up to 2 days before you arrive

If you develop symptoms, keep self-isolating and get a COVID-19 test.

Read about international travel advice and rules on

Negative test result

If you had symptoms of COVID-19 and your test was negative (virus not detected), continue to self-isolate until you have no symptoms for 48 hours.

If you were a close contact, continue to follow advice for close contacts. You should restrict your movements for 14 days even if your test comes back negative.

People who cannot self-isolate

It may not be possible for some people with COVID-19 to self-isolate. For example, a child, an older person or someone with a disability.

Follow the advice on caring for someone who cannot self-isolate

How to cope with self-isolation

Keep yourself mobile by getting up and moving around as much as possible. If you have a private garden, backyard or balcony, go out and get some fresh air.

Stay in touch with people over the phone. Ask a family member, friend or neighbour to check in with you over the phone a few times every day. Let them know how you are feeling.

Get any food or medication you need delivered to your home. Ask someone to get these things for you if home delivery is not an option. Do not go to the pharmacy or shop yourself as you could put others at risk.

Read more about how to keep well during self-isolation

Last updated: 7 September 2021 at 6.40pm

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