People with suspected symptoms of the new coronavirus should self-isolate at home, communicate with their family by phone and consider putting a sign on their front door to ward off visitors.
The dramatic instructions were issued by the HSE yesterday as Health Minister Simon Harris predicted a surge in suspected cases.
He said people returning to Ireland from nine regions abroad with suspected symptoms will need to go into self-imposed quarantine while they wait for a test result.
He said up to now 90 suspected patients were isolated in hospital. But the inevitable rise in numbers who report potential symptoms of the virus within 14 days of return or contact with an infected person will mean more will have to restrict themselves to their home and avoid others.
Sharing of dishes and cups is banned, visitors should not be allowed into the house and there needs to be an hour's time lag between use of a bath or shower by the patient and others in the house.
The self-isolation guide comes after the Irish expert group overseeing management of the virus ramped up precautions, securing agreement from the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to cancel the upcoming Six Nations clash between Ireland and Italy.
Italy suffered another 50 virus cases yesterday, including eight children, taking the toll past 370 with 12 deaths.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan yesterday warned other mass gathering events which could pose a public health risk will have to be risk-assessed by a group of experts.
They are tasked with tackling the threat in Ireland which so far has no confirmed cases.
A major question mark still hangs over the St Patrick's Day Festival which may have to curtail attendance by participants coming from at-risk countries.
The list of such countries has now been expanded and includes China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran and four regions in northern Italy, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont.
It also emerged yesterday that if there is a significant outbreak here, and infected people are sick enough to be in a hospital, they will be treated in the 12-bed national isolation centre in the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
Dr Kevin Kelleher, HSE head of health protection, said there is the threat of a significant outbreak of the virus in the world in six to 12 months.
It continues to spread through Europe, with North Macedonia and Greece becoming the latest countries to be struck down.
People who have been in affected countries and do not have symptoms do not need to self-isolate but can contact the HSE.
Meanwhile, up to 20 Irish people are among 1,000 guests who will remain on lockdown in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife until the weekend. A formal quarantine has not yet been declared.
"The health authorities here in Tenerife are waiting to see if there's another case before they decide what to do," an Irishman in the hotel told the Irish Independent.
"Apparently they're reluctant to call a quarantine and have us here for two weeks because I reckon they're worried about the publicity but yet they don't want to take the risk, so I think they're going to play it along."
No guest showed any symptoms after receiving a medical assessment by a team of doctors.
"We were told this morning that nobody had shown signs of a temperature spike," he said. "It's a nice place to be confined, the sun is shining and sea is lapping away in the distance. It's a very nice place to be stuck if you're stuck."
The hotel was placed on lockdown after an Italian doctor staying tested positive for coronavirus.
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A school principal said she was “erring on the side of caution” in asking 28 students and two teachers to stay at home after their return from a mid-term ski trip to northern Italy.