What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 also referred to as COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How is COVID-19 spread?

The coronavirus is most likely spread from person-to-person through:

  • Close contact with a person who has the infection.
  • Contact with a person with the confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes
  • Touching objects or surfaces (e.g. door handles or tables) that have been contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with the confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

How can we stop spreading COVID-19?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against COVID-19. Its important to:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow, and use handsanitiser. Always wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • Wear a mask when in public. It is mandatory to do so.
  • If feeling unwell, avoid contact with others (e.g. touching, hugging etc.)

What are the symptoms?

The coronavirus is most likely spread from person-to-person through:

  • Fever, tiredness, and dry cough.
  • Some people infected may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
  • It is possible to become infected but not develop any symptoms or feel unwell. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. The virus will still be contagious even if you’re symptom free.

What is self-isolation?

If a worker/yourself is required to self-isolate – they should:

  • Avoid having visitors and ask friends and family to drop off any food or medicines that they may require.
  • Avoid leaving the house at all costs and do not go to work, school, public areas or use public transport.
  • Don’t go to the GP or A&E.

Handwashing Techniques to Stay Healthy

Follow these five steps every time.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (temperature does not matter), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Common questions

Is there a vaccine to prevent or cure Coronavrius?

Yes. Covid-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes Covid-19 without us having to get the illness. Currently the following vaccinations are being used in Ireland: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson.

Antigen Testing

A COVID-19 antigen test detects coronavirus proteins in the mouth and throat. This test determines whether a person is currently infected with COVID-19.

Antigen testing is a suitable ‘first line of defense’ test against COVID-19, particularly in individuals who have COVID symptoms, because it is a relatively simple procedure, and is quicker than other approaches – like PCR testing; it typically takes around 15 minutes for a result.

It is less accurate than PCR testing, however, as a high viral load is required for the antigen test to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). Some people in the early or late stages of infection may therefore return a false result, although this is not common.

PCR Tests

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 is a molecular test that analyzes your upper respiratory specimen, looking for genetic material (ribonucleic acid or RNA) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Scientists use the PCR technology to amplify small amounts of RNA from specimens into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which is replicated until SARS-CoV-2 is detectable if present. The PCR test has been the gold standard test for diagnosing COVID-19 since authorized for use in February 2020. It’s accurate and reliable.

Importance of Personal and Protective Equipment (PPE)

It is extremely important for anyone working in a homecare or healthcare setting to ensure they effectively use their PPE. Donning and doffing of PPE is an integral part of reducing risk of transmission and spread of Covid-19.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

It is now mandatory regulation to wear a face mask while in public. There are no exceptions. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to €1000- or 1-month imprisonment.

Travel & Coronavirus

If you are travelling to Ireland from overseas you must fill out a Passenger Locator Form before departure.

You also have to have appropriate valid proof of vaccination or recovery, or to present evidence of a negative RT-PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country.

A relevant EU Digital COVID Certificate based on vaccination, recovery or a negative RT-PCR test constitutes valid proof. Non RT-PCR tests are not accepted when travelling to Ireland and passengers with a Digital COVID Certificate based on a non RT-PCR test (for example, antigen) require proof of an additional negative RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival

COVID-19 Key Facts

  • It is most likely to be spread through coughs and sneezes when a person is infectious. Sneeze into your elbow and always wash your hands after sneezing/coughing.
  • There is a possiblility that the virus can spread from surface to human contact.
  • You must not go to A&E if you are unwell and think you may have COVID-19.
  • You must call your GP or ring 112 or 999 if you think you have coronavrius.
  • Good hand hygiene is one of the best ways of preventing the spread of the virus. Cough etiquette helps too.

All information found on this webpage has been gathered from the World Health Organisation, Health Service Executive, National Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To keep informed of any changes in these guidelines please go to or