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Self-isolation rules

Self-isolate when you have a COVID-19 test, are diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or someone else who has.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment NSW

Financial support is available if you cannot earn an income because NSW Health has ordered you to self-isolate or quarantine at home, or you’re caring for someone with COVID-19.

Find out if you are eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment NSW.

On this page

Travel to and from NSW

If you are entering NSW, check the rules for interstate travellers

Find out what you need to do if you are planning to travel interstate.

When you must self-isolate

You must self-isolate if you

  • have been tested for COVID-19 and haven’t yet received your result
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • are suspected of having COVID-19
  • had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, including visiting a case location
  • are a household member of, or have been in close physical proximity to (for example a close friend or work colleague), a close contact who has yet to receive their initial negative test result
  • have returned from overseas and are exempt from hotel quarantine.

If you have been directed to self-isolate, you must follow the instructions of

  • NSW Health
  • designated health practitioners and
  • authorised contact tracers.

For a list of locations where a confirmed COVID-19 case has been identified, see the latest COVID-19 exposure locations.

Contact tracing

When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 infection, NSW Health commences contact tracing to identify

The team of authorised contact tracers at NSW Health investigate COVID-19 to identify and follow up people who have had contact with someone with COVID-19.

Learn more about NSW Health contact tracing plan.

People confirmed to have COVID-19 infection

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by SMS (text message). In the text, there is a link to a survey with four short questions. Please answer these questions.

What do I need to do?

  • Self-isolate in your home immediately.
  • Tell everyone you live with that they must immediately get tested and self-isolate too.
  • Tell your work manager and people you have been in contact with in the 2 days before you got sick (or if you feel well, 2 days before your test ) that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and ask them to immediately get tested and self-isolate. 

Someone from NSW Health will contact you to discuss your health needs and connect you to community health services. Public Health may also contact you for additional information. The Police may also visit your house to check that you are OK and to collect information about any people living with you.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor, call Healthdirect (1800 022 222) or, in an emergency call 000.

If you have been to hospital for assessment and are discharged before your isolation period is complete, you must immediately go to your residence or the place determined by the designated health practitioner to complete your isolation period.

If you have been confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, follow NSW Health self-isolation guidelines.

Visitors to NSW

For visitors to NSW, the designated health practitioner will evaluate whether you may return to your home state or territory for isolation and determine a suitable location for your isolation period. This could be your residence, a hospital or other suitable place in your home state or territory.

Contact tracing

When asked by an authorised medical practitioner, you must provide details of the places you’ve been and people you have been in contact with over the past 28 days, together with names and contact details, if known.

Follow the guidance

If you are required to self-isolate, you must

  • comply with the relevant NSW Health COVID-19 self-isolation guidelines and information during your self-isolation
  • remain in self-isolation for the number of days determined by the designated health practitioner (usually 14 days)
  • stay at home or the place determined by the designated health practitioner except
    • to obtain medical care, medical supplies or get a COVID-19 test
    • in an emergency situation
  • not permit anyone to enter your home or place where you are in isolation except if:
    • it is their usual place of residence
    • they are also complying with a self-isolation order
    • they are providing medical or emergency support.

A person can enter a place that is not a resident, to deliver food or essential items to you.

At all times, follow the guidance for:

Penalties for not self-isolating as directed

The self-isolation rules are enforceable under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order. Not following the rules is a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties.

For individuals, the maximum penalty is $11,000, 6 months in prison, or both with a further $5,500 fine for each day the offence continues.

The NSW Police may also issue on-the-spot fines to individuals of:

  • $5000 for failure to comply with obligations to self-isolate if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, including staying at home or in hospital, as determined by a doctor, nurse or paramedic;  providing details of contact with other persons and places you have visited; and complying with NSW Health guidelines 
  • $5000 for failure to comply with obligations to self-isolate if you are a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, including staying at home up to 14 days, as determined by a doctor, nurse or paramedic; submitting to testing for COVID-19; and complying with NSW Health guidelines.
  • For corporations on-the-spot fines of $10,000 apply for failure to comply with obligations relating to self-isolation. 

Domestic and family violence support

If it's not safe for you to stay at home, find out what to do and the services and support available to you.

Close contacts

A close contact is someone who:

  • is likely to have come into contact with a person who has COVID-19 and
  • is at risk of developing COVID-19.

You are a close contact if:

Follow the NSW Health advice for close contacts.

What you need to do

If you are a close contact, ask the following people to get tested and to isolate until they get a negative test result:

  • everyone who lives in your home
  • everyone who has visited your home since your close contact exposure
  • everyone who has travelled to work with you since your close contact exposure, especially everyone who travelled in the same car.

If there was any period while you were at work and you were not wearing a mask, ask everyone you spoke to or were in close contact with when not wearing a mask to get tested and isolate.

This would be especially important for everyone who was close to you while you were eating or drinking.

If you have had contact with a healthcare worker, ask them to speak to their manager for a risk assessment before they return to work

Isolation and testing

If you are a close contact, you must:

  • immediately get tested regardless of symptoms and go straight to your residence or a suitable place to isolate after the test
  • you must isolate at home or another suitable place for 14 days from the time you were exposed
  • get tested again: 
    • on day 7 after you were exposed if you can access a drive-through testing clinic or can walk or cycle to a testing clinic, and
    • between days 12 and 14 after you were exposed.
  • provide the address and contact phone number for the place you will be isolating
  • get a test again on day 12 (since your last contact with an infected person) of your isolation period
  • continue to self-isolate until you have completed your isolation period and have received at least 2 negative test results.

When you go for a COVID-19 test

When you go for a test, tell the testing clinic that you are a close contact. If you test negative (do not have COVID-19), you still need to remain in isolation until the isolation period finishes (14 days).

If required, an authorised medical practitioner can direct a close contact of a COVID-19 case to:

  • be tested for COVID-19 and provide details of the date, time and location of the test
  • continue self-isolation for an additional period of up to 10 days.

Visitors to NSW

If you are a visitor to NSW, the designated health practitioner will evaluate whether you may return to your home state or territory for isolation and determine a suitable location for your isolation period. This could be your residence, a hospital or other suitable place in your home state or territory.

Check the case locations

Check the list of COVID-19 case locations to see if:

  • you were at a location at the same time as a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • NSW has assessed the time and location as a close contact.

Casual contacts

If you were at the casual contact place less than 4 days ago:    

  • get a COVID-19 test at your closest testing location, and isolate
  • get another COVID-19 test on day 5 after you were at the casual contact place
  • you can stop isolating when you get a negative result from your first test, but
    • wear a mask when in the same room as any other person
    • do not leave your home except if this is necessary, or to exercise outdoors
    • go to work only if this is essential for your workplace.
  • monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested again at any time if you develop any symptoms. You will need to isolate until you receive a negative test result.

If you were at the casual contact place 4 or more days ago:

  • get a COVID-19 test at your closest testing clinic, and isolate
  • stay in isolation until you receive a negative test result
  • monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested again at any time if you develop any symptoms. You will need to isolate until you receive a negative test result.

Follow the NSW Health advice for casual contacts.

Check the case locations

The advice provided by NSW Health for confirmed COVID-19 case locations may change if additional information becomes available. If you are reassessed as a close contact based on new information, you will need to isolate and follow the close contact guidelines.

Self-isolate after you get a test

When you are tested for COVID-19, you must self-isolate from the time you have the test until you receive a result. Do not stop off at any locations on your way home after getting tested.

You do not need to remain in isolation if the test confirms you do not have COVID-19 (negative result) unless a designated health practitioner or contact tracer has instructed you to complete an isolation period of 14 days.

Travelling to and from a COVID-19 testing clinic

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or evaluated as a close contact, follow any directions you are given by a designated health practitioner or contact tracer for travelling to or from your home or the place where you are self-isolating.

If you have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you are leaving your home to have a COVID-19 test, follow the guidelines for:

Do not travel by public transport.

Safety tips for self-isolation

Sharing your home or accommodation

If you are sharing your home or accommodation with others you should, as much as possible:

Isolation advice for parents and carers

If your child has received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 your child must self-isolate at home and must not go to school or childcare. As much as possible, separate your child from others in the home and follow the NSW Health isolation advice for parents and children.

Leaving isolation

Even after you have completed your isolation period, continue to follow the health advice for:

  • wearing face masks
  • practising good hygiene
  • physical distancing
  • symptoms and testing.

Mandatory quarantine

All international travellers arriving in NSW are required to enter mandatory quarantine. A quarantine accommodation fee applies.

Exemptions

The Minister of Health may provide an exemption, subject to any conditions the Minister considers appropriate if the exemption is considered necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of any member of the public.

Related apps

Service NSW App

Service NSW

You can check in to COVID Safe businesses who are using their NSW Government QR Code, via the Service NSW app.

 

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