These Guidelines are supplementary to the current Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) (No 4) Order (the Order) and should be read in conjunction with the Order.

These Guidelines apply to:

  • transport providers transporting travellers who are required to quarantine to or from a quarantine facility or a medical facility (see Part 1 of these Guidelines)
  • flight crew who are required to self-isolate and use approved transportation (see Part 2 of these Guidelines)
  • flight crew who are required to self-isolate (see Part 3 of these Guidelines).

International flight crew who are required to self-isolate and transportation providers transporting such persons must comply with the directions in the Order and in these Guidelines.

Employers must ensure transportation providers and flight crew members who are required to self-isolate comply with the directions in the Order and in these Guidelines.

These Guidelines do not apply to a person transporting a traveller or flight crew member from a quarantine facility or their place of accommodation to a medical facility in the event of an emergency.

Last updated: 14 January 2022
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Part 1: Transportation providers transporting travellers who are required to quarantine 

Part 1 of these Guidelines apply to a person providing a transport service to an:

  • international arrival to or from a quarantine facility or from a quarantine facility to a medical facility
  • international flight crew member who is required to self-isolate.

Transportation providers must comply with the directions in Part 4: COVID-19 Safe Transport.

Vaccination

All persons providing a transport service to passengers and flight crew who are required to self-isolate must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Part 2: Flight crew who are required to self-isolate and use approved transportation

International flight crew who are NSW residents must isolate at their residence, or in accommodation arranged by their employer. Flight crew who are not NSW residents must isolate at accommodation arranged by their employer.

Part 2 of these Guidelines apply to flight crew members who are required to self-isolate under the Order, they must:

  • travel in an approved transport provider arranged by their employer
  • drive a private vehicle to their place of residence in NSW to self-isolate.

Transport providers and flight crew who are travelling to their accommodation using an approved transport provider must comply with directions in Part 4: COVID-19 Safe Transport.

Flight crew members who are required to self-isolate and are driving a private vehicle to their place of residence in NSW must comply with the following requirements:

  • they must travel directly to their residence by the most direct route
  • the vehicle must not have any other passengers
  • the vehicle must be filled with fuel and necessary refreshments required for the journey to avoid the need for stops prior to reaching their destination.
  • they must avoid stopping in busy areas, as well as any rural and remote towns
  • rest breaks or emergency stops should be taken within the car, or in an outdoor location where physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres can be maintained at all times
  • they must practice good hand hygiene
  • they must handle own belongings and luggage

Flight crew members who are required to self-isolate should not leave their vehicle unless it is urgent or unavoidable. If the flight crew member leaves the vehicle, they must

  • wear a mask and practice good hygiene
  • wipe down any surfaces such as petrol bowsers, toilet doors and locks with disinfectant wipes before and after use
  • if required to stop to purchase goods or services, use contactless payment methods where available (e.g. using contactless-enabled credit or debit card instead of cash)
  • maintain a record or log of all locations attended, including:
    • date, time and duration of time spent at each location
    • description of travel, including starting point, destination, and any rest stops.

Flight crew must provide the records to NSW Health within 4 hours of requesting the information

Part 3: Flight crew members who are required to self-isolate

COVID-19 testing

Flight crew with a layover of 48 hours or more

Flight crew must have the following COVID-19 tests:

  • pre-departure rapid antigen test (RAT)
  • Rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival
  • Rapid antigen test on day 7
  • Rapid antigen test on day 12.

Flight crew may leave self-isolation to depart on a flight out of Australia.

Flight crew members should watch carefully for symptoms of COVID-19 for the first two weeks after arriving in NSW, and if symptoms occur, immediately have a rapid antigen test. This is because it can take up to 14 days from the time a person comes into contact with someone with COVID-19 for them to develop symptoms. Around a quarter of contacts who are infected will become positive in the second 7 days after being exposed. For further information about testing please see Getting tested for COVID-19.

If the flight crew member does not leave Australia, they will have to remain in isolation for the quarantine period. The quarantine period starts when they arrive in NSW and ends when the sooner of the following occurs:

  • at least 14 full days have passed and, having regard to any testing for COVID-19, the Chief Health Officer is satisfied the person does not pose a risk of infecting any other person with COVID-19, or
  • 24 full days have passed.

Flight crew with a layover of less than 48 hours

A flight crew member who has a layover period in Australia of less than 48 hours does not need to have a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival, however this is strongly recommended. If they are a NSW resident and do not have a test taken within the first 24 hours of arrival, they are not permitted to self-isolate at home and must self-isolate within flight crew accommodation arranged by their employer.

Flight crew who have a positive rapid antigen test result

All flight crew members who have a positive rapid antigen test result must immediately self-isolate and follow the advice in Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home.

Self-isolating at your home or accommodation

Self-isolation means staying in their home or accommodation and remaining separated from others.

Flight crew cannot leave their accommodation, except:

  • to seek medical care (including to obtain a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kit)
  • in an emergency (including to avoid injury, or escape a risk of harm from domestic violence),
  • to undertake duties that are essential for safety or for other regulatory reasons, such as flight simulation training or safety or security training, or 
  • to depart on another flight that leaves Australia.

If the flight crew member needs to leave their accommodation for one of the permitted reasons, they must comply with these Guidelines.  Please see Part 4: COVID-19 Safe Transport.

Flight crew cannot have visitors to their accommodation while they are self-isolating unless the person is visiting them for medical or emergency purposes.

For further information on how to self-isolate safely, including supports available, please refer to the NSW Health COVID-19 Self-Isolation Guideline and Support factsheet.

Monitor for symptoms and seek help if they develop

Flight crew should take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test immediately and remain in self-isolation if they experience any of the following symptoms (however mild) at any time:

  • fever (37.5°C or higher) or history of fever (night sweats, chills)
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • sore throat
  • loss of smell or loss of taste

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, headache, acute blocked nose (congestion), muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

If a flight crew member needs to see a doctor, they should call ahead and make sure the doctor is aware of their symptoms and that they have recently returned from overseas.

If a flight crew member becomes severely unwell and it is a medical emergency, they should phone 000.

They should tell the ambulance staff that they are an international flight crew member and are in self-isolation.

Still have questions or need support while in isolation?

  • NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
  • Beyond Blue helpline – 1800 512 348
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Visit the Service NSW Mental wellbeing resources
  • NSW Health has partnered with Sonder to provide a personal wellbeing service, available to help support you. The app provides access to 24/7 multilingual chat and phone access to a range of mental health, medical and wellbeing support services. You can download the Sonder app for free. You may also receive a text message from Sonder notifying you that you have free access to the app through NSW Health. Downloading the app is optional and Sonder do not retain or use your data for any other purpose than notifying you of this service.

Part 4: COVID-19 Safe Transport

Transportation providers must provide COVID-19 Safe Transport when providing transport for certain passengers and crew, including:

  • people travelling to and from a quarantine facility or medical facility
  • people who are granted a time-limited exemption from a quarantine or medical facility
  • flight crew who are self-isolating at their accommodation
  • flight crew who are self-isolating at their residence

COVID-19 Safe Transport means:

  • the vehicle must travel directly to and from:
    • the quarantine or medical facility
    • place of self-isolation (if they are a flight crew member who is required to self-isolate) or
    • airport
  • the vehicle must be filled with fuel and necessary refreshments required for the journey to avoid any need for stops on way to destination.
  • all drivers and passengers must comply with the PPE requirements
  • all passengers in the vehicle must comply with the following physical distancing guidance:
    • For cars
      • there should be no more than two passengers
      • if there is one passenger, they must sit diagonally behind the driver
      • If there are two passengers, they must sit in the back seat
    • For buses and larger vehicles:
      • there should be a minimum of two empty rows between the driver and passengers
      • there should be a vacant seat between each passenger, however, family groups may sit together
      • the vehicle may transport a maximum of 50% of its normal seated capacity
  • promote natural ventilation including opening windows where possible, or, if using air conditioning, by maximising the intake of outside air and reducing recirculation of air
  • it is strongly recommended the vehicle is only used to transport individuals arriving from international destinations and not used to transport members of the general public
  • the vehicle must be cleaned thoroughly between uses, including cleaning all hard surfaces prior to onboarding new passengers. Please see the COVID-19 Vehicle Cleaning Procedure prepared by the Clinical Excellence Commission for further information.
  • maintain a record or log of all passengers and locations attended, including:
  • name and contact details of passenger
  • date, time and duration of each trip
  • name and address of all locations attended, including starting point and destination

Transport providers or their employers must provide these records to NSW Health within 4 hours of requesting the information. A record of passenger names and contact details is not required if this information is held by NSW Government agencies (e.g. as part of regular transport of international passengers from the airport to hotel quarantine).

Transportation providers and passengers should not leave the vehicle unless it is urgent or unavoidable. If they need to leave the vehicle, they must:

  • continue to wear a mask and practice good hygiene including using alcohol-based hand sanitiser to wash hands before and after touching surfaces
  • wipe down any surfaces such as petrol bowsers, toilet doors and locks with disinfectant wipes before and after use
  • if required to stop to purchase goods or services, use contactless payment methods where available (e.g. using contactless-enabled credit or debit card instead of cash)
  • maintain a record of all locations attended, including date, time and duration of time spent at each stop. Transport providers must provide the records to NSW Health within 4 hours of requesting the information.

NSW Ambulance and other emergency transport services should comply with internal procedures and the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Manual developed by the Clinical Excellence Commission.

Part 5: Personal protective equipment (PPE)

All transportation providers and their passengers must wear appropriate PPE, as described in the guidance for Authorised Transport Providers.

Appropriate PPE, including a surgical mask, must be worn inside the vehicle and within 1.5 metres of other passengers or drivers. Children 12 years and under are exempt from wearing masks but are encouraged to wear them where practicable. Masks should not be worn by babies and toddlers under 2 years of age, as they are a choking and suffocation risk.

For more information, please see the CEC COVID-19 infection prevention and control guidance and resources ‘Transport’ resources.

What happens if you don't comply with these Guidelines

Not following these guidelines puts family, friends and community at risk. Not following these rules is also a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties. For individuals, the maximum penalty is $11,000, 6 months in prison, or both with a further $5,500 fine for each day the offence continues. On-the-spot fines may be issued. Compliance checks on self-isolation and on testing requirements will be undertaken.

More information

Current as at: Friday 14 January 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW