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Travellers

People in isolation in hotels (or at home) after returning from recent travel can return to daily activities and cease isolation if:

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

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

For travellers, 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.

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. They must:

  • not travel by public transport to get to their 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

Close contacts can return to daily activities if they have:

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

For close contacts, testing or medic​al 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.

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

In this case 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.

Confirmed cases

If you are someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, your release from isolation will depend upon:

  • whether your illness was managed at home, in a hospital, or a combination of both
  • whether you are required to enter a high-risk setting after you have recovered and completed your isolation.

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.

However, additional criteria, including testing, must be met before a person who has been diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 can enter a high-risk setting.

What is a high risk setting?

High-risk setting are:

  • aged care and other residential care facilities
  • healthcare settings*
  • military – group residential and other closed settings, such as Navy ships or living in accommodation
  • boarding schools and other group residential settings
  • educational settings where students are present
  • childcare centres
  • correctional facilities
  • detention centres
  • remote industrial sites with accommodation (e.g. mine sites)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rural and remote communities, in consultation with the local PHU
  • settings where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring, in consultation with the local PHU.

* The requirement for testing includes: persons returning to work in healthcare settings; patients who will be remaining in hospital after release from isolation; and those regularly attending healthcare settings for any other purpose. Persons who need to present to an emergency department or general practice for medical consultations can do so without meeting these criteria, but should, where feasible, inform staff before arrival if they have recently been released from isolation.

Confirmed cases who are not required to enter a high-risk setting

If your illness was managed in isolation at home you can leave isolation once:

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

If your illness was managed in hospital and you have been discharged to home isolation without having two consecutive negative COVID-19 PCR swabs, you can leave isolation once:

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

Confirmed cases who are required to enter a high-risk setting

Confirmed cases who are required to enter a high-risk setting may be released from home isolation as above BUT must meet the following additional criteria before they can enter a high-risk setting:

  • at least 10 days has passed since the onset of symptoms and
  • you have been afebrile for the previous 48 hours and
  • you have had a resolution of all symptoms of acute illness for the previous 24 hours and
  • you have been tested and 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 individuals have completed their isolation period they 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 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 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.
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Page Updated: Wednesday 6 May 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW