RTÉ broadcaster Claire Byrne has said she did not believe she had Covid-19 until she was diagnosed with the virus.

Speaking from her home last night, where she is in self-isolation, the presenter said she felt guilty, shocked and worried after testing positive because she may have passed the virus on.

She said she had been displaying symptoms of what she assumed was a head cold or chest infection and she said she had no temperature at any stage.

Ms Byrne described to viewers that she was tested for the coronavirus at a Health Service Executive facility, where a nurse used a swab to take a sample from her throat and nasal passage.

Co-presenting Claire Byrne Live programme, she described how "over the course of the next couple of days the symptoms got worse."

During last week, she said, she had aching limbs and experienced real fatigue.

Ms Byrne also said for three successive nights she had a "hacking cough" and she was "becoming breathless."

She said it as "the worst moment" because she said "I was getting to the point where I was struggling for breath."

Ms Byrne said her "symptoms have abated" and she is now "through the worst of it."


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Yesterday Ms Byrne told colleagues that she tested positive for Covid-19.

In an email to staff, she wrote: "As some of you may know, I tested positive for Covid-19.

"I made the decision that I wanted you all to know this at the earliest opportunity. The HSE contact tracing system worked with me over the weekend."

Last night's Claire Byrne Live programme was be co-presented by Sarah McInerney in studio, and Claire Byrne via live video link.

There have been 1,125 cases of coronavirus confirmed here and six people with Covid-19 have died. 

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical. 

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person, within 1-2 metres, to be considered at-risk or a close contact.

But there are higher risk settings, where transmission is possible in a shorter time interval, where health staff are dealing directly with known or suspected cases in particular settings and may need personal protective equipment.