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Self-isolation rules

You will need to 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.

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.

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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 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 news and updates.

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.

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

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.

If you are staying in a place that is not a residence, a person can enter the place 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 $5500 fine for each day the offence continues.

People confirmed to have COVID-19 infection

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 the designated health practitioner will

  • decide whether you need to go to hospital for assessment by a medical practitioner
  • determine how long you will need to be in isolation
  • confirm a residence or suitable place for you to be in isolation – and you must provide the address and contact phone number to them
  • provide medical clearance when you can leave isolation.

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.

Close contacts

A close contact is someone who is

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

If you are required to self-isolate, a contact tracer will write to you and tell you

  • to immediately get tested regardless of symptoms and go straight to your residence or a suitable place to isolate after the test
  • how long you need to isolate (usually up to 14 days since your last day of contact with the confirmed COVID-19 case)
  • to get tested again at any time during your isolation period if you develop any symptoms
  • to provide the address and contact phone number for the place you will be isolating
  • that you need to get a test again on day 12 (since your last contact with an infected person) of your isolation period.

You must continue to self-isolate until you have completed your isolation period and have received at least 2 negative test results.

Testing for COVID-19

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 and you will need to be tested again on day 12 of your isolation period.

If required, an authorised medical practitioner can direct a close contact of a COVID 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 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

A casual contact is someone who has been near a confirmed case of COVID-19 while they were infectious but is considered by NSW Health at lower risk than a close contact. 

Some casual contacts however may have a higher risk of infection associated with exposure to a COVID-19 confirmed case and will be asked to

  • get tested immediately and
  • isolate until a negative test result is received.

If you are evaluated as either a higher risk casual contact or lower risk a casual contact

When you are tested for COVID-19, return home immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test result.

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.

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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