People are directed into quarantine isolation if they have recently arrived or returned from overseas travel, or they have been identified as a close contact of person diagnosed with COVID-19. These people are required to stay isolated except for emergencies or when seeking medical care, and to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Hotels and other accommodation facilities may host people in quarantine isolation. The following guidance is provided to support such facilities and minimize the risk to staff. Facilities should provide education to appropriate staff, and seek assistance if there are concerns. All staff should be made aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and know what to do if they develop any of these symptoms.

Key considerations

  • Privacy - Individuals in quarantine must have their rights with respect to their protection of their personal health information maintained. This means that, after discussion with the public health authorities, information about the individual's health situation should only be discussed with those staff members directly involved with assisting quarantine. In practice this may include cleaners of the guest's room and relevant laundry and catering staff.
  • Food delivery services - Hotel and other food services should be advised to only deliver food and drink orders outside the isolated person's room door to minimise direct exposure to the contact person.
  • Room cleaning frequency – the frequency of cleaning of rooms may be able to be reduced or even deferred until the end of the quarantine period. Some cleaning tasks may be able to be undertaken by the guest in quarantine isolation if provided with appropriate cleaning equipment.
  • Cleaning products – while the virus may survive on some surfaces from hours to several days, routine cleaning products are effective at disinfecting these surfaces.
  • Waste management – all waste from the room should be considered potentially infectious. but can be safely contained by staff wearing appropriate personal protective equipment then disposed of in the routine waste.

Cleaning guidelines

For the purpose of this guidance it is assumed that the isolated person occupying the room to be cleaned is not in the same room during while it is being cleaned. They can be asked to wait in an en-suite bathroom or balcony, if available. It these options are not possible, the isolated person may stay in the room being cleaned provided they are wearing a surgical mask and maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres or more from the person performing the cleaning.

Recommended disinfectants for cleaning

Coronaviruses are killed by a number of chemical disinfectants readily available from consumer and commercial sources, and likely to be used already by hotels. Examples of appropriate disinfectant solutions are listed in the table below.

Disinfectants Recommended use Precautions

Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)

1000 parts per million of available chlorine, usua​lly achieved by a 1 in 50 dilution of 5% liquid bleach

Disinfection of material potentially contaminated with blood and body fluids
(Recommended contact time with surfaces is 10 minutes).
  • Should be used in well-ventilated areas
  • Protective clothing required while handling and using undiluted bleach
  • Do not mix with strong acids to avoid release of chlorine gas
  • Corrosive to metals

Granular chlorine

e.g. Det-Sol 5000 or Diversol, to be diluted as per manufacturer's instructions

May be used in place of liquid bleach if this is unavailable
  • Should be used in well-ventilated areas
  • Protective clothing required while handling and using undiluted bleach
  • Do not mix with strong acids to avoid release of chlorine gas
  • Corrosive to metals​

Alcohol

e.g. Isopropyl 70%, ethyl alcohol 70-80%

Smooth metal surfaces, tabletops and other surfaces on which bleach cannot be used
  • Flammable, toxic, to be used in well-ventilated area, avoid inhalation
  • Keep away from heat sources, electrical equipment, flames, hot surfaces
  • Allow to dry completely

Cleaning staff

Ideally, assign one person who is in good health and has no underlying chronic medical conditions or immunocompromising conditions to undertake cleaning.

Steps for cleaning

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Disposable gloves should always be worn while cleaning the room, toilets and other common areas, and when handling cleaning and disinfecting solutions. Dispose of gloves if they become damaged or soiled or when cleaning is completed, as described in Step 5 below; never wash or reuse the gloves.
    • Wearing a simple surgical face mask is recommended if close contact (within 1.5 metres) with the contact person is unavoidable when the cleaning is conducted.
    • Eye protection, such as goggles, and a surgical mask may be required if splashing cannot be avoided.
    • Avoid touching the face with gloved or unwashed hands.
  2. Routine cleaning
    • The use of disposable equipment, especially disposable cloths, is strongly recommended, with a fresh cloth used for each room. If other cloths are used they should be laundered in hot water wash before re-use.
    • Clean surfaces as usual with a neutral detergent and water.
  3. Disinfection of special areas
    • In addition to routine cleaning, the following surfaces in the room which are commonly touched should be disinfected:
      • door handles and light switches
      • tables and counters
      • armrests of chairs (if not fabric)
      • TV buttons and remote controls, telephones, air conditioner (A/C) buttons and remote controls, kettle handles, fridge door handles
      • bathroom including door handle, door lock, toilet seat and buttons, taps, wash-basins, counters, shower and/or bath
    • Clean the surface first with a neutral detergent and water, and then apply the disinfectant as instructed on the disinfectant manufacturer's label. Ensure the recommended contact time occurs. Allow to dry completely.
    • Adhere to any safety precautions or other label recommendations as directed (e.g. allowing adequate ventilation in confined areas such as toilets).
    • Avoid using application methods that cause splashing.
    • Standard disinfectants cannot be used on some surfaces, e.g. television remote controls and telephones. For these surfaces alcohol solutions are recommended.
    • Consider using impermeable and cleanable zip-lock plastic bags to hold TV and A/C remote controls as these items are likely to be handled frequently.
    • If contacts are permitted to leave their room or are suspected to have left their room, clean and disinfect any other areas outside the room that may have been used such as elevators (buttons and hand-rails), sauna, spa and pool areas, public telephones and vending machines.
  4. Body fluids
    • Cleaning staff should wear an impervious disposable gown or apron, gloves and eye protection when there are body fluids to clean up, including any steam cleaning.
    • Any body fluids should first be removed from visibly contaminated surfaces by using an absorbent material, which should then be disposed of as described in a sturdy, leak-proof plastic bag, as described below in Step 5.
    • Hard, non-porous surfaces must then be cleaned and disinfected as described in Step 2. Large areas contaminated with body fluids (e.g. covering most of a table) should be cleaned up with an absorbent material, then cleaned with detergent and water and then disinfected.
    • Since disinfectants are not registered for use on some porous surfaces, contaminated material such as carpets and upholstery should be carefully steam cleaned or laundered in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Waste disposal, including personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Dispose of all soiled material, including any masks or other PPE worn by the guest, in a sturdy, leak-proof plastic bag that is tied shut and not reopened.
    • Local health authorities should be consulted for appropriate disposal decisions.
    • The waste can be disposed of normally.
  6. Food Trays, Dishes, and Cutlery
    • Disposable gloves should be worn when handling a contact's used trays, dishes and utensils
    • Any disposable utensils should be discarded with other general waste, as in Step 5.
    • Wash reusable dishes and cutlery in a dishwasher with detergent and hot water as usual
  7. Upholstery and Carpets
    • Special cleaning procedures for upholstery, carpets and storage areas are not necessary unless obviously soiled.
  8. Laundry
    • Laundry staff should also wear gloves when handling laundry from the guest's room
    • Linen should not be shaken as this might contaminate the surrounding area
    • If linen and towels require laundering they should be collected in a laundry bag
    • Linen should be emptied directly from the laundry bag into the washing machine without handling and laundered on a normal hot cycle then air or tumble dried
    • Do not use compressed air and/or water under pressure for cleaning, or any other methods that can cause splashing. Vacuum cleaners should be used only after proper disinfection of other surfaces has taken place.
  9. Hand Washing after Room Cleaning
    • When cleaning is completed all PPE should be removed and safely disposed of in a sturdy, leak-proof plastic bag that is tied shut and not reopened
    • Immediately wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before drying with a paper towel. Be careful not to touch the face before washing hands.

Reporting exposure risks

Cleaning staff should immediately report breaches in their personal protective equipment (e.g. torn gloves) or any close contact with the guest to their supervisor immediately.​​

Page Updated: Monday 24 August 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW