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Self-isolation rules

What you must do if you are required to self-isolate, or you have been tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19, or been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

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Mandatory hotel quarantine for NSW residents returning from Victoria

12 August 2020

NSW residents returning from Victoria will have their hotel quarantine fee waived for the next month to ease the financial burden on returnees.

The charge will be waived retrospectively and apply to NSW residents already in hotel quarantine after travelling from Victoria.

The moratorium on the hotel quarantine charge for NSW residents will expire at 12:01am Friday, 11 September 2020.

Read more about quarantine rules

Quarantine fee for international travellers

A mandatory quarantine fee applies to international travellers returning to NSW who need to quarantine.

Read about the mandatory quarantine fee

When you must self-isolate

You must self-isolate if you have:

To help answer your questions about travelling to NSW from Victoria, see the guide to border restrictions

While some people who are confirmed to have COVID-19 infection will need to be managed in hospital, most people will have mild illness and can be managed at home in isolation.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, your release from isolation will depend upon whether your illness was managed at home, in a hospital or a combination of both.

For most people, release from isolation will be based on clinical features, such as duration of illness and time elapsed since resolution of all symptoms.

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

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 by following NSW Health self-isolation guidelines for people confirmed to have COVID 19 infection.

For more information see NSW Health advice for parents and carers.

If you are required to self-isolate, then you must comply with the relevant NSW Health COVID-19 self isolation guidelines and information during your self-isolation and stay in self-isolation for the number of days required.

If you

  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must self-isolate until your doctor has confirmed:
    • at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms and
    • there have been no symptoms of the acute illness for the previous 72 hours
  • are suspected of having COVID-19, you must self-isolate until you receive a negative test result. Usually this is within 24 to 72 hours, If your test result is positive, you must comply with the self-isolation requirements for confirmed cases
  • had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you must self-isolate for 14 days after you last saw the person
  • you have already been advised to stay in home isolation because of recent overseas travel
  • you have been in Victoria in the past 14 days, you must self-isolate for 14 days after you were last in Victoria.

If the test is negative, you do not need to remain in isolation unless

  • you are within the 14 days isolation period after recent travel overseas or to Victoria, in which case you need to remain isolated until the 14 day isolation period is complete.
  • you are a close contact of a person, and you are within the 14 day isolation period after your last contact with that person, in which case you need to remain isolated until the 14 day isolation period is complete.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, an authorised health worker will determine whether you can remain at the place where you are self-isolating or may direct you to a hospital for further assessment.

People identified as close contacts should travel directly to the place where they will undertake their self-isolation (home or a hotel). They can travel by private car, public transport, taxi or ride-share, provided that they are well.

People who have been in Victoria in the previous 14 should travel directly to the place where they will undertake their self-isolation (home or a hotel).

If you have arrived in NSW from overseas, you will be transported from the airport to a designated accommodation facility for quarantine.

Closely follow all NSW Health advice about physical distancing and personal hygiene to minimise the risk of spreading the disease.

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

  • remain separated from others
  • wear a surgical mask when you are in the same room as another person
  • use a separate bathroom, if available
  • avoid shared or communal areas and wear a surgical mask when moving through these areas
  • not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as elderly people, immuno-compromised people, and those who have heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.

Find further information about isolation advice for parents and children.

There should only be people in the home who are essential for providing care for the person who is in isolation and those who cannot find alternative accommodation.

Caregivers and household members should follow advice to reduce their risk of infection.

Leaving or ending self-isolation

Home isolation for close contacts is enforceable under Section 62 of the Public Health Act 2010.

Following 14 days of isolation, if you feel well – and continue to feel well – you do not need to be tested before you are released from isolation.

If you develop a fever, cough, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or loss of smell during the isolation period, you must be assessed and tested for COVID-19.

If your test result shows you do not have COVID-19, you will remain in isolation until the original 14-day isolation period ends.

If your illness was managed in isolation at home you can leave isolation once your doctor has confirmed:

  • at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms; and
  • there have been no symptoms of the acute illness for the previous 72 hours

If your illness was managed in hospital and you have been discharged to home isolation, you can be released from isolation once your doctor has confirmed:

  • at least 10 days have passed since hospital discharge; and
  • there have been no symptoms of the acute illness for the previous 72 hours

If your illness was managed in hospital and you are being discharged after you have had two consecutive negative COVID-19 PCR swabs collected at least 24 hours apart, at least 7 days from symptom onset, you can be released from isolation.

Once you are no longer in isolation you should continue to practice hand hygiene, cough etiquette and physical distancing.

People who need to present to an emergency department or general practice for medical consultations and treatment can do so, but should, where feasible, inform staff before arrival if they have recently been released from isolation.

Common questions about self-isolation

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate until cleared of the disease.

You self-isolate at your residence or a place determined to be suitable by your doctor or other designated health practitioner, such as a registered nurse or paramedic. In some cases, this may be the hospital.

You have to supply these details so NSW Health can determine whether your condition is worsening and if so, guide you to your nearest hospital and ensure they are prepared for you. 

In addition, the information you provide is critical to protecting your loved ones and your broader community during the pandemic. 

No. You must immediately take the most direct route home. COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. If you need help getting food, medicine or other essential goods and services, Service NSW can assist.

You can only leave your home for the following reasons:

  • in an emergency
  • to obtain medical care or medical supplies.

No. You may not allow anyone to enter the place where you are self-isolating unless the person:

  • normally lives there
  • is also complying with a direction under the public health order
  • is entering for medical or emergency purposes
  • is delivering food or other essential items. 

Members of your family are considered close contacts and must also self-isolate. 

Yes. An authorised NSW Health contact tracer will determine your close contacts and direct them to go directly home – or to another place deemed suitable by the contact tracer – to self-isolate. 

Yes. These restrictions apply to anyone required to self-isolate under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2020 and aim to eventually halt community transmission of COVID-19.

The Minister of Health may exempt a person if the Minister is satisfied the exemption is necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of any member of the public. 

Contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 to discuss your situation with the COVID-19 hotline.
 

Report someone who is not self-isolating

Report any person failing to follow these rules to Crime Stoppers.

NSW Police may issue a penalty notice of $1000 to someone who is not complying with the Public Health Orders.

Not following these rules is also a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties.

  • Individuals: the maximum court imposable penalty is $11,000, or imprisonment for 6 months, or both with a further $5500 for each day the offence continues.
  • Corporation: the maximum court imposable penalty is $55,000 with a further $27,500 for each day the offence continues.

Domestic and family violence support

Find out what to do if it's not safe for you to stay at home and the services and support available to you

Last updated: 3 August 2020

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