When he mentioned it, many wondered what Leo Varadkar meant by “cocooning”.
He said that at some stage in the coming weeks, the government will advise the elderly to “stay at home for several weeks and systems are being put in place to ensure they have food and are checked on.
“We call it cocooning and it will save many lives,” he said.
Dublin GP Maitiu O Tuathail said: “This is probably the first time anybody has really heard it being mentioned. Basically it is for people who are most at risk from any disease and it means people self-isolating within their own home for a defined period of time.
“It’s not social distancing. You are basically under house arrest for several weeks.
“I think (the Taoiseach) is planting a seed that this may have to happen within the next, probably, 14 days.”
Faith Popcorn, the US futurist who coined the term “cocooning” in 1981, says it was originally about cosying up and retreating from life in the comfort of your home from time to time.
But now, she says, it means something very different in light of Covis-19.
“It became something far more defensive,” she said. “With Corona, people have started to go cocoon crazy.”
Her advice is to make friends with a computer and “re-introduce yourself to your spouse and find out what hearing he or she is really about”.
She also advises: “It’s time to write that book. You can go in the garden, or explore things you’ve always been fascinated with but didn’t have time for. There is a certain relief in not having to go anywhere.
“A lot of people would like to keep a social distance all the time. It is great for introverts.
“I think it can be upbeat.
“You have music, you have video, you have TV, you have books, friends, and hopefully you have a garden and you have your imagination.
“People (should) write letters to their grandchildren and children about things they want them to remember. Go through your photos and write these letters.”