Self-isolation rules for cases and people exposed to COVID-19
Rules for when self-isolation due to COVID-19 is required, due to exposure, symptoms or a positive test.
Changes to self-isolation rules
From 14 October 2022, it will no longer be mandatory to self-isolate at home if you test positive to COVID-19.
NSW Health strongly recommends people who are sick or have tested positive to COVID-19 stay home until their symptoms have gone.
Some restrictions will still apply for high-risk settings such as healthcare and aged care facilities.
More information will be available here soon.
Self-isolation means you must stay at your home or accommodation and remain separated from others. You can only leave to get medical care (such as a COVID-19 test) or in an emergency. You cannot have visitors.
If you test positive on a rapid antigen test or a PCR test, you are a confirmed COVID-19 case. You must immediately self-isolate for 5 days from the date of your positive test and follow the advice for people testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 at home.
The 5-day isolation period commences on 9 September 2022 and applies to people who test positive from that day.
Note: The new isolation period also applies to people who were serving an isolation period immediately prior to 9 September that would have otherwise included 9 September. The isolation period is also reduced to 5 days for those people.
People who test positive to COVID-19 cannot work at certain premises for 7 days after they test positive. For details about these premises, visit Rules for people in NSW.
For more information about how to self-isolate, read the NSW Health Self-Isolation Guidelines.
People exposed to a COVID-19 case
If you are a household or close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19 and don’t have any symptoms, you must follow the NSW Health household and close contacts guidelines.
If you have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, you should follow the advice for people exposed to COVID-19 to understand your risk and what you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community.
People with COVID-19 symptoms
People who test positive to COVID-19
Finding out if you are a confirmed case of COVID-19
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should follow the information for people testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home.
You must register your positive test result as soon as possible so you can be linked to important health care support and advice based on your COVID-19 risk.
Penalties for not self-isolating as directed
The self-isolation rules are enforceable under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order. If you are directed in writing (including SMS) by NSW Health to self-isolate 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, paramedic or authorised contact tracer; 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 by an authorised contact tracer if you are a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, and failure to self-isolate at the residence or place determined by the doctor, nurse, paramedic or authorised contact tracer to be suitable to reside in
- For corporations on-the-spot fines of $10,000 apply for failure to comply with obligations relating to self-isolation.
Requirements for people arriving from overseas
All passengers, flight crew and mariners arriving into NSW from overseas must follow the rules for international passengers.
From 30 April 2022, hotel quarantine is no longer required for unvaccinated international passengers and maritime crew.
Infographic: How to self-isolate - in your language
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