The period for which people with Covid-19 are required to isolate is being cut from 14 days to 10.
Under new guidelines, patients who test positive for the virus are being advised to self-isolate for “a minimum of 10 days” from the onset of symptoms, or 10 days from the date of the test if asymptomatic. They must also go five days without fever.
Where a person with Covid-19 symptoms tests negative, they are advised to self-isolate until 48 hours after resolution of their symptoms.
New guidelines for children aged under 13 years provide for testing based on nasal swabs, rather than the current nasal/throat swabbing currently in place.
The new advice is contained in revised guidelines for GPs from the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
The change from 14 days to 10 does not apply to contacts of confirmed cases who have been tested, or to people arriving from countries other than those on the Government’s green list. These groups are still required to restrict their movements for 14 days.
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the National Public Health Emergency Team had decided to reduce the period of isolation from 14 to 10 days for confirmed cases from the onset of symptoms, based on advice received from the Expert Advisory Group following a review of the evidence.
“In addition, it has been agreed that nasal swabs are an acceptable alternative to nasopharyngeal swab for use in children in the community. This will hopefully make testing a simpler process for children going forward.
“Covid-19 is an evolving pandemic and NPHET is committed to adapting advice and guidelines based on emerging evidence,” he said.
Another 208 confirmed cases were reported by NPHET on Monday night, including 108 in Dublin. There have now been a total of 31,192 confirmed cases in the Republic. There were no new deaths, leaving the number of Covid-19 deaths at 1,784.
Of the new cases, 108 are in Dublin, 18 in Louth, 12 in Donegal, 10 in Meath, nine in Kildare, eight in Waterford, seven in Cork, six in Limerick and Wexford. The remaining 24 cases are located in Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Galway, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Mayo, Roscommon, Tipperary, Westmeath and Wicklow.
Some 62 per cent of cases are in people aged under 45 years, and 33 per cent are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case. No figure for the number of case linked to community transmission was given.
Meanwhile, the latest update from the European Centre for Disease Control shows the incidence of the disease is twice that in Germany of Sweden.
Ireland is reporting a 14-day incidence of 45.4 to the ECDC, compared with 21.7 in Germany and 22.7 in Sweden.
Most countries in Europe are experiencing a rise in cases at present – with the UK reporting an incidence of 51.1 and Spain having the highest rate, at 270.7.