What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
How does it spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.
What are the symptoms?
If you have any common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should self-isolate and phone your GP or straight away to get a coronavirus test.
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
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
How to protect yourself and others:
There is no vaccine for coronavirus.
To protect yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19), think about how the virus is spread.
Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. To infect you, it has to get from an infected person's nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth. This can be direct or indirect (on hands, objects, surfaces).
Keep this in mind. It will help you remember all the things you need to do to protect yourself and others from the virus.
Be responsible, be safe, be mindful
Proper hand washing, respiratory hygiene and social distancing are more important than ever.
We are still at risk of a large surge of infection. Everyone should use their judgement and follow the advice below to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Try and limit the number of people you meet with outside of your home and the time you spend with them.
wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and other indoor settings - this is the law, you may be fined or refused entry if you don't wear one.
work from home if possible - if you cannot work from home, keep 2 metres apart from other people.
avoid crowded places as much as possible - leave a location if social distancing becomes difficult.
avoid public transport if possible - walk or cycle instead, if you can.
avoid places where you can't keep 2 metres apart from other people, where possible
wear a face covering when visiting people aged 70 or over, or other vulnerable people - be sure to practice social distancing for their safety.
avoid sharing vehicles with people you don't live with - wear a face covering if you do
Do not ignore or delay seeking medical treatment for abnormal signs or symptoms that you may be experiencing. Get medical help if you need it.
People at higher risk from coronavirus
People at higher risk from coronavirus should take extra care to protect themselves
Read advice for people over 70 or at very high risk of coronavirus.
Social distancing is important to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.
keep a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people
avoid communal sleeping areas
avoid any crowded places
not shake hands or make close contact with other people, if possible
There is very little risk if you are just passing someone. But try to keep a distance of 2 metres as much as possible.
If you are in a public place where it is difficult to keep 2 metres away from others, you should wear a face covering.
Read more about close contacts and casual contacts.
Social distancing at work
Follow social distancing advice everywhere outside the home. This includes your workplace.
If you are going back to your workplace, read information about returning to work safely.
Contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 1890 289 389 if you are:
worried about how your workplace is responding to social distancing or other measures
an employer and want advice on coronavirus prevention measures in the workplace
There is separate advice about:
self-isolating if you have symptoms of coronavirus
taking extra care if you're at higher risk from coronavirus
cocooning for people who are at very high risk (extremely vulnerable)
what to do if you live with someone who has coronavirus symptoms
what to do if you are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
travel and coronavirus - from Gov.ie
Good hygiene and hand washing
Good hygiene and washing your hands properly and often will help to stop the spread of coronavirus. Follow this advice as strictly as possible and encourage others to do this too.
Wash your hands properly and often.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups.
When you should wash your hands
You should wash your hands:
after coughing or sneezing
before and after eating
before and after preparing food
if you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
before and after being on public transport, if you must use it
before and after being in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
when you arrive and leave buildings including your home or anyone else's home
if you have handled animals or animal waste
before having a cigarette or vaping
even if your hands are not visibly dirty
after toilet use
Keep your hands in good condition. Moisturise them often. Any basic product that is not perfumed or coloured is OK.
Read advice on how to wash your hands properly.
Use the COVID Tracker app
COVID Tracker is a free and easy-to-use mobile phone app that can:
alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
advise you on what to do to protect yourself and others
alert other app users that you were in close contact with, if you test positive for coronavirus.
The app is part of our contact tracing operation. Contact tracing is vital to slowing the spread of the virus. The more people that download and use the app, the more it will help contact tracing.
Using the app, along with following the public health advice on this page, can help us all stay safe when we meet up, socialise, work or travel.
You can download the app from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.