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People in isolation must follow this advice regarding when they can be released from isolation

Travellers

People in isolation in hotels (or at home) after returning from recent travel are required to quarantine for 24 days. You can return to daily activities and cease isolation after 14 days if:

  • you have had a negative test result taken on or after your tenth day of quarantine and
  • the Chief Health Officer or delegate is satisfied that you do not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19 and
  • you have received medical clearance by a health practitioner to be released from isolation.

If following the 14-day isolation period you are completely well, it is very unlikely that you will develop symptoms related to COVID-19 exposure during travel.

If you decline to have a COVID-19 test on your tenth day you will be required to self-isolate for the full 24 days.

Travellers with exemptions

People who have been granted an exemption from a designated quarantine facility (hotel) to isolate at home must do so in accordance with relevant isolation advice. You must:

  • not travel by public transport to get to your home, or point of onward travel
  • have clear rows in front and behind if travelling by aircraft
  • if travelling to another state, have clearance to travel to that state.

People travelling to other states or territories are subject to isolation requirements and advice of that State or Territory upon arrival.

Close contacts and people in areas of ongoing COVID-19 transmission (including Victoria)

Close contacts can return to daily activities if you have:

  • completed the 14-day isolation period and
  • you have not shown any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 during this time.

For close contacts, testing or medical clearance from a health care provider is not required for release from isolation or for other purposes such as returning to work, school or university.

People suspected to have COVID-19 (suspected cases)

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and have been tested, you must self-isolate until your doctor advises you of your test result.

If the test is negative, you do not need to remain in isolation unless:

  • you are within the 14-day isolation period after recent travel
  • you are a close contact of a person and within the 14-day isolation period after your last contact with that person.

In those cases, you need to remain isolated until the 14-day isolation period is complete.

Please note, people with respiratory symptoms who have a negative COVID-19 test should remain at home and apply good hand and respiratory hygiene until symptoms have resolved.

If the test is positive, you will become a confirmed case and will need to remain in isolation and follow the advice of your doctor and the local public health unit.

People with COVID-19 (confirmed cases)

For someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, your release from isolation will depend on whether your illness was managed at home, in a hospital, or a combination of both.

For most people with COVID-19, release from isolation will be based on clinical features, such as duration of illness and presence or absence of symptoms.

If your illness was managed in isolation at home, you can leave isolation once your doctor has confirmed:

  • at least 10 days has passed since the onset of symptoms and
  • there have been no symptoms of the acute illness for the previous 72 hours.

If your illness was managed in hospital and you have been discharged to home isolation, you can be released from isolation once your doctor has confirmed:

  • at least 10 days has passed since the onset of symptoms and
  • there have been no symptoms of the acute illness for the previous 72 hours.

If your illness was managed in hospital and you are being discharged after you have had two consecutive negative COVID-19 PCR swabs collected at least 24 hours apart, at least 7 days from symptom onset, you can be released from isolation.

Once you are no longer in isolation you should continue to practice hand hygiene, cough etiquette and physical distancing.

People with COVID-19 who are significantly immunocompromised

In addition to meeting the above criteria, if you are significantly immunocompromised, you can be released from isolation when you are PCR negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart at least 7 days after symptom onset.

Additional information

Considerations for people with existing respiratory illness

Some people may have a pre-existing illness with chronic respiratory signs or symptoms, such as chronic cough. In this case, the doctor who has been treating you should assess whether the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 have resolved.

Transport

People in home isolation must not use public transport.

Once you have completed your isolation period you can use public transport.

Hygiene and physical distancing

Everyone should continue to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing to reduce the spread of all contagious diseases:

  • regularly and thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and mouth
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • keep at least 1.5 metres (2 arms’ lengths) from other people.

For more information

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Page Updated: Friday 31 July 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW