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How to isolate or quarantine with COVID-19

6-minute read

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

How do I isolate when I have COVID-19?

Self-isolation means you must stay at your home or accommodation and remain separated from others. You cannot leave your house or accommodation, unless for medical care, an emergency or an allowed purpose.

If you are in isolation, you should not go out in public. You should not go to work, school, childcare or university. Do not travel on public transport or in taxis or ride-share services.

Only people who usually live with you should be in your home. Do not allow visitors into your home unless it is absolutely necessary or they are providing medical or personal care.

You should separate yourself from the other members of your household as much as possible. This includes staying in a separate, well-ventilated room, sleeping alone and using a separate bathroom if one is available.

If you cannot isolate in a separate room, avoid shared spaces, such as the kitchen, as much as possible. Do not share household items and wash these items thoroughly after using them.

Wear a mask when moving through shared areas. Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

What if I live in an apartment building?

If you have to self-isolate and you live in an apartment building, you will need to follow extra steps to protect other building residents from COVID-19.

  • You must remain inside your own unit. You should not use any shared or common facilities, such as the laundry room, gym, pool or outdoor areas.
  • Wash your clothes inside your own unit.
  • Ask a neighbour or contact your building manager about collecting your rubbish. Leave the rubbish outside your door, return inside your unit and close your door.
  • If you are receiving deliveries, including food, at your home, ask for them to be left outside your door. Do not open the door to pick up the delivery until the corridor is empty.

Can I isolate at a hotel or other accommodation?

You should spend your self-isolation period at the place you are staying. This may be your home, a hotel, motel or other form of accommodation. You must be able to safely stay there and separate yourself from any other people.

If you are in a hotel you must stay in your room. You should avoid contact with other guests and staff, but you can go onto your private balcony.

How long do I need to isolate?

If you test positive to COVID-19, you usually need to isolate for at least 7 days. You can only leave isolation after 7 days if you have no symptoms.

However, states and territories may have different isolation and testing rules. Check their websites for more information.

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

How do I access essential supplies?

If you are isolating at home, there are many support options and services available to ensure you have enough food and other essential supplies.

If you do not have family, friends or neighbours to get you essential supplies, consider buying groceries online or contacting your state or territory government for assistance. You may also be eligible to have medicines delivered to your home.

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.

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

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

Last reviewed: May 2022

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