Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

COVID-19 isolation and quarantine

5-minute read

If you develop severe symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

How do I isolate?

If you’re isolating, you must stay at home or in your accommodation. You shouldn’t have any visitors.

If you’re a confirmed COVID-19 case or a close contact you will need to isolate and follow the rules of the state or territory you’re staying in.

While you’re isolating, don’t go to public places or places where you might have contact with other people, such as work, school, childcare, university or public gatherings.

You can only leave home in an emergency or to obtain essential medical care. Someone can only enter your home in an emergency, if they provide you with medical care, or if they live with you and can’t live anywhere else.

When travelling home or to your accommodation to start isolation, use personal transport, such as a car, if you can. This will minimise your exposure to others.

Only people who usually live with you should be in the same accommodation. But you must isolate from them as well, if practical.

How long do I need to isolate after testing positive to COVID-19?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must stay at home or in your accommodation. This is usually at least 7 days from the day you had your COVID-19 test.

The Australian Government has rules for what you need to do if you have COVID-19. However, states and territories may have different isolation and testing rules in place. Check their website for more information.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.

If the Symptom Checker tells you to contact your GP, make sure you call your doctor to describe your symptoms and contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. You can also attend a COVID-19 clinic in your area.

Learn more about managing mild to moderate COVID-19 at home.

How long do I need to isolate if I’m a close contact?

If you are a close contact of someone who’s a confirmed case of COVID-19, it’s most likely you will need to quarantine for a period of time. This is usually 7 days since you last had contact with the person who has COVID-19.

The Australian Government has rules for what you need to do if you are a close contact. However, states and territories may have different isolation and testing rules. Check their website for more information.

How do I look after my mental wellbeing in isolation?

Being in isolation is an unfamiliar experience for most people, and it can be challenging.

Learn more about how to maintain your wellbeing and what support services are available.

Can I return to work in a high-risk setting?

People returning to a high-risk setting can end their isolation based on the same guidelines as other confirmed cases. However, some states and territories may allow healthcare workers to leave self-isolation earlier than the general public to be able to attend their workplace. Check their website for more information.

All recovered cases should continue to follow community guidelines, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and wearing a mask. Healthcare workers should continue to use the appropriate PPE as recommended when caring for COVID-19 patients, or in settings where there’s potential exposure.

I’m worried about people who return to work or school or go out in public after isolation.

People can return to daily activities, if they have completed the required isolation period and they have not shown any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 during this time.

Will people who return to work or school after isolation need any documentation?

Medical clearance or documentation is not needed for people who return to work after their required period of isolation, provided they showed no symptoms or signs of being unwell while in isolation.

Workplaces are encouraged to accept leave requests, without needing medical clearance, for employees who need to self-isolate and who have not experienced any signs or symptoms.

Looking for more information?

Visit healthdirect's COVID-19 information hub for more answers to questions about the coronavirus, including vaccinations and restrictions.

Resources in other languages

COVID-19 resources in other languages are available from the Department of Health, as well as from the ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic and WA health departments.

Information is also available in Aboriginal languages (NT).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2022

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Resources for Self-Isolation or Quarantine - How to Cope

A range of resources for people in Self-Isolation or Quarantine including self-care, staying active and activity planning.

Read more on This Way Up website

Home quarantine plan

If you are sick and think you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must quarantine at home. This general home quarantine plan will help you prepare in case of infection.

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website

What are the rules of quarantine? -

The rules for quarantine seem to be different, depending on whether you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has it.

Read more on myDr website

COVID-19 & isolation: talking with kids | Raising Children Network

Help children cope with COVID-19, physical distancing and self-isolation by talking. Kids need good information, plus opportunities to talk about feelings.

Read more on website

COVID-19 vaccination program | SA Health

About COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination programs to protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of coronavirus in South Australia.

Read more on SA Health website

Pregnancy, parenting, and COVID-19

Information for pregnant women and parents on how to keep you and your family safe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website


COVID-19 FACT SHEET: EMOTIONAL WELLBEING DURING ISOLATION As there may be extended time at home in the upcoming weeks with social distancing or social isolation, it is very important to still find ways to keep occupied and connected during this unusual and dynamic time

Read more on Gidget Foundation Australia website

COVID-19 | SA Health

Health information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for South Australians. Find COVID-19 testing clinics and read the latest health updates and advice on COVID-19.

Read more on SA Health website

COVID-19 and kids

Here's what you should know about COVID-19, including the symptoms, how to self-isolate or practise social distancing, and how to explain the virus to children.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

What should I do to prepare for coronavirus isolation? -

There's no need for massive hoarding, but there are some smart moves you can make if you have a chronic disease.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo