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RTÉ's Claire Byrne says she felt shocked, guilty and now relieved after contracting Covid-19

Byrne told her own programme this evening that she is “through the peak of Covid-19″.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

Updated Mar 23rd 2020, 11:09 PM

RTÉ PRESENTER CLAIRE Byrne has tested positive for the coronavirus.

RTÉ confirmed the news earlier this evening after it had said on Saturday that a staff member had been diagnosed with the virus.

The co-host of RTÉ Radio One’s News at One and host of the Claire Byrne Live show, Byrne told colleagues today that she is through the peak of the condition. 

Speaking this evening on her own programme on a live link from her home, Byrne spoke about her symptoms, the testing process and how she felt when she got the positive result. 

“I was told that I had Covid-19, and I can’t tell you what that’s like,” the broadcaster said. 

It’s so shocking, and particularly when you don’t expect it and even at that point I had completely convinced myself that this was just a chest infection, so when I was told I Covid-19 I was really shocked.

“And then I went into guilt mode,” Byrne added. 

“Because I felt, how many people have I given this to? That was my big concern, obviously I’ve been self-isolating for quite some time and following all of the guidelines, but there’s always in the back of your mind that thought well, before I had symptoms was I giving this condition to other people.”

Last week, she appeared again on Claire Byrne Live from a shed at home as she had the symptoms of a cold and was self isolating based on advice from the HSE.-

This evening, Byrne said she initially felt she like she had a head cold but that over the course of the past week “the symptoms got a little bit worse”. 

“The cough that I had became much more ingrained, it was a productive cough, and it was very hard to get rid of it or to deal with it. And then I had the aching limbs, very much aching limbs, tiredness, real fatigue,” she said. 

Byrne went on to say that she getting very congested and was “definitely getting to the point where I was struggling for breath”. 

These symptoms lifted over the past couple of days and Byrne said she is “through the peak of Covid-19, and I’m very glad about that,” she added.


So far, 1,125 people have tested positive for the virus in Ireland. In the majority of cases, a patient will only experience mild symptoms and make a full recovery.

Tánaitse and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed this evening that he has tested negative for Covid-19 after a close contact with someone who tested positive.

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“Like thousands of people across the country, I was contacted in recent days by a member of the HSE contact tracing team to say I had been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid 19,” Coveney said in a statement.

“I followed all protocol and was tested. The result is negative for Covid-19. I would like to sincerely thank the HSE team for their professionalism and courtesy. Testing is going to be a reality for tens of thousands of people and it is vitally important that we all follow HSE direction in the interest of public health.”

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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Sean Murray

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