GPs have warned people with even mild Covid-19 symptoms should now be self-isolating.
The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has this morning issued the warning because a large majority of confirmed virus cases are now coming from community transmission.
The ICGP has also urged people to stay at home this coming weekend.
And, echoing earlier concerns about the fate of people who have stopped seeing their GP or attending hospital emergency departments, the body has also urged anybody with non-Covid-19 conditions to see their GP if they need treatment.
Dr Nuala O’Connor, the ICGP’s Lead Adviser on COVID-19, said: “People may have only mild symptoms, so they don’t realize how dangerous this could be for vulnerable people in their family home.
“These are the elderly, those with chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, or those with underlying conditions.
“They must self-isolate for 14 days.”
She stressed this means they can’t go out, they must not share utensils or towels with family members and they must stay two metres away from people.
“I know this can be difficult in a family environment but this is the only way we can avoid spreading the virus further,” she added.
Dr Mary Favier, President of the ICGP, said: “We can’t afford to become complacent at this stage in the pandemic.
“While 80% of people get a mild illness, we know that the virus can be deadly for some, including young people.
Dr Favier reminded the public that General Practice is open for all illnesses, and urged people worried about any aspect of their health to pick up the phone to their GP.
“We are very concerned that a lot of illness, including early stage cancers, could be missed because people are afraid to go to their GP,” she said.
“We have set up systems to enable consultations for patients without being put at risk of getting Covid-19.
“So please do remember: GP is open.”