These frequently asked questions are for parents or carers of someone who needs to self-isolate due to COVID-19. This could be someone caring for a confirmed case, a close or casual contact, or someone waiting for test results.
If you are caring for a child with COVID-19, please read the advice for managing COVID-19 at home.
Self-isolation requirements and testing guidance is different for people with COVID-19, people who are close contacts, people who are casual contacts and people who have symptoms of COVID-19.
For information relevant to your situation, please refer to the resources below:
You should keep the person who is the close contact away from the rest of your household as much as you can.
If you, or anyone in your household, cannot self-isolate away from the close contact, you will not need to self-isolate but should not attend high risk settings (health care, aged care, disability care and correctional facilities) during your isolation period. If you work in one of these settings, your employer may do a risk assessment to allow them to return to work.
close contact factsheet for further information on testing and isolation timeframes.
If the person you care for can self-isolate effectively alone, other members of your household will not need to self-isolate and do not need to follow any further specific advice.
For further information on safely isolating within a household and testing requirements, see the
close contact fact sheet.
You should try to keep any COVID-19 positive members of your household separated as much as you can. If the positive member of your household cannot self-isolate by themselves, a vaccinated adult should isolate with them if possible.
Household close contacts who are able to remain completely separated from the COVID-19 positive person need to self-isolate for 7 days. This means seven full 24-hour periods from the time the COVID-19 positive person received their positive result.
Household close contacts who are unable to separate from the COVID-19 positive person must self-isolate with them until they are released from isolation.
Further information about self-isolation is available in the factsheets for confirmed cases and
If the person you care for is a close contact and develops
symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during isolation, help them to get tested immediately. You must not travel by public transport or ride-share. Wear face masks that cover your nose and mouth and tell staff immediately that the person is a close contact of a person with COVID-19. Young children should not wear a mask as it can be a choking and suffocation risk.
If the person you care for is a
confirmed case of COVID-19 and develops mild symptoms, such as runny nose, cough, tiredness and fever, rest and plenty of fluids usually help, similar to a regular cold or flu. Call the medical team looking after the person right away if symptoms worsen. In an emergency, particularly if severe headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing or chest pressure or pain develop, call 000 straight away and tell ambulance staff that the person has COVID-19.
Not all age groups can use masks effectively and it may not be safe for all children. Babies and toddlers should never wear a mask, as it can be a choking and suffocation risk. Teenagers who are able to wear masks should do so when they are with others. Masks are recommended for primary school aged children and should be worn while they are around others in the home, even though this type of interaction should be limited. Parents should assist children in this age group with hand hygiene.
For further advice, please see the latest
advice on face masks.
Moving between households, even for shared caring arrangements is not recommended. People should only move to another household after they have completed their self-isolation period and have received a negative test result.
If the person you care for is a close contact and cannot self-isolate on their own and they do move between households, all members of both households will need to follow the advice above.
If the close contact has a negative test after leaving the first household, then any isolating members of the first household can cease isolation. See the other questions on this page for further information specific to you.
Further information about self-isolation is available in the factsheets for
confirmed cases and
A variety of support options are available for people in self-isolation. For further information, see the
confirmed cases and
close contacts factsheets.
The best way to protect young children, and avoid disruption to their education, is to make sure that all eligible members of your household are vaccinated (including children over 12 and adults). All teachers, school staff and early childhood educators also have to be fully vaccinated by 8 November 2021.
Australia's COVID-19 vaccination program will
be extended to all children aged 5 to 11 from 10 January 2022 after the Australian Government accepted recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
Children aged 5 to 11 will be able to receive 2 doses of the vaccine, 8 weeks apart. The younger children's dose is one third of the dose for people aged 12 years and over
early childhood services have been provided with information on maintaining COVID safe behaviours, mask wearing for staff and students, physical distancing and minimising mixing and mingling of staff, students and children.
The school or early childhood service will provide advice about what you need to do if a case of COVID-19 was identified at your child's school or early childhood service on a day that they attended. Your child may be considered a
casual contact. Please follow the advice provided to you.
Parents of children under 14 can
access their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register at any time.
Children aged 14 years and over can
request their own Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register by using or creating their own Medicare online account through myGov.
For further information about COVID-19, vaccinations and schooling, see the
COVID-19 and Children Frequently asked questions from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.