New rules have been introduced for COVID-19 testing, as of March 24th, 2020. Patients will have to display two major symptoms and fall into a priority group in order to be tested.

HSE advises calling your GP to be assessed for a test if you have a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above) or chills and one of the following major symptoms:

  • a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties

If you are experiencing these symptoms and are concerned you have been in contact with a person infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19), self-isolate and contact your GP (family doctor) by phone. You can also call HSELive on 1850 24 1850 for further guidance.

Use the phone. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Your GP will assess you and decide if a test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is necessary.

While you wait for your test please self-isolate. The people in your household will need to restrict their movements.

Following the new testing rules the following only will be considered:

  • A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath)


  • A patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset;


  • A patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath; AND requiring hospitalization) AND in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation.

Priority groups:

Priority groups for testing include people with specific symptoms of coronavirus who are also:

  • close contacts of a confirmed case
  • healthcare workers who are in the frontline and have regular patient contact
  • those most at risk of severe infection such as people with diabetes, immunosuppressed, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease and smokers
  • people who live with those in the above groups
  • staff and residents of nursing homes and other residential care settings and those in direct provision, homeless, Roma and travelling community settings where symptom management is difficult
  • pregnant women to ensure they are managed safely in hospital

See further information at the links below:

  • HSE Coronavirus testing informationread here
  • Assessment and testing pathways for COVID-19read here



1850 24 1850

for guidance on COVID-19