COVID-19 requires an extraordinary response and the quarantine period is necessary for the safety and health of all NSW citizens, including the family and friends of those in quarantine and self- isolating at home.

Last updated: 21 April 2021

The Public Health Orders

How long do you need to be in quarantine?

Quarantine is used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The duration of hotel quarantine is for a minimum of 14 days up to 24 days, with limited exceptions for transiting air or sea passengers.

The Chief Health Officer may release a person after 14 days if satisfied that the person does not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19. In making the assessment, the Chief Health Officer must consider any testing or assessment conducted by, or on behalf of, NSW Health.

When in hotel quarantine you will routinely be tested for COVID-19 on day 2 and day 12 of the quarantine period, or at any time you first experience symptoms of COVID 19. If a passenger from your flight tests positive and flew in their infectious period you may also be requested to have an additional swab on day 7. If the results are all negative, you will be able to leave hotel quarantine at the end of 14 full days providing you do not have symptoms of COVID 19 and have been approved to do so by an authorised person.

People who refuse to be tested, or test positive will be required to stay in quarantine for a longer period. That is, until the end of the quarantine period (24 days), or in the case of a positive test, until clear of infection.

A close contact of a person in quarantine who tests positive will also be required to be isolated for 14 days from when they were last in contact with a person with COVID-19. This may also result in quarantine longer than the minimum mandated 14 days.

Getting to a hotel when you return

Travellers who arrive by air

Travellers who arrive by air are required to quarantine and undergo a COVID-19 symptom and temperature check at the airport.

If you have any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat or shortness of breath you will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport or sea port and transferred to a hotel managed by NSW Health to await your results. Your checked luggage will be transferred separately to your accommodation.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you will collect your luggage and be transferred to a hotel or other designated quarantine facility.

Travellers who arrive by sea

Travellers who arrive by sea must be authorised to disembark by the Commissioner of Police or delegate and must go to a quarantine facility, hospital or other medical facility as directed by the Commissioner to undertake a quarantine period. If leaving Australia by air, you will be directed to go to an airport (to get a flight out of Australia). You must follow the directions of the Commissioner while travelling to the airport.

Can you choose your own hotel?

All hotel quarantine for travellers is pre-arranged and you are not required to make a booking. It is not possible to advise in advance which hotel you will stay at. This is determined on the day of your arrival.

Will I have to pay for the accommodation?

The NSW Government will charge travellers for their hotel quarantine accommodation.

You will still be required to quarantine in government arranged accommodation, unless provided an exemption to self isolate. The NSW Government will invoice you at the end of your stay.

For more information or questions regarding quarantine fees:

  • visit Revenue NSW - Quarantine fees
  • call Revenue NSW 1300 433 476 (8:30am to 5:00pm Monday – Friday) or Service NSW on 13 77 88 (available 24/7)

For translation and interpreter services, please call 13 14 50 and ask the interpreter to phone 13 77 88.

Can I self-isolate at home instead of in a hotel?

Under the Public Health Order by the Minister for Health and Medical Research, all people from overseas must quarantine in a designated quarantine facility, such as a hotel. Exemptions are rare due to the high risk of not quarantining. They are only considered where there are strong medical, health or compassionate grounds, or the person is transiting out of NSW to an international destination other than a Pacific Island country.

For more information and to apply for an exemption, refer to Exemptions for air and maritime quarantine.

Meals in hotel quarantine

Food will be provided for you at the quarantine facility. Any dietary requirements should be discussed when you arrive. You can also order takeaway meals once a day from outside the hotel. Should you choose to use additional food services this cost will be incurred by you.

Use of Nebulisers and Positive Pressure Breathing Machines in Quarantine

Nebulisers and Positive Pressure breathing machines such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) are not allowed in quarantine facilities. If you use nebulisers or CPAP, please tell the health care staff when you arrive in NSW. Alternative arrangements will be made to support you during quarantine.
Monitor your symptoms

For NSW residents, NSW Health will contact you within 2 days of your departure from hotel quarantine. NSW Health will:

  • ask if you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild
  • ask you to get tested on the day you are contacted, or the following day, even if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you will not need to self-isolate while waiting for your test result.

You should monitor yourself for any new symptoms while in quarantine. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat and shortness of breath, loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

Unexplained chest pain and conjunctivitis have also been reported as symptoms of COVID-19.

If you develop any of these symptoms while in quarantine you should contact the health care team at your hotel as soon as possible. The health care team are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted by phoning reception at your accommodation or the Health and Wellbeing number on 1300 290 994.

You will then be assessed and tested for COVID-19. If you test negative you still need to remain in quarantine until the full 14 day isolation period finishes and you have received a medical clearance.

If you become severely unwell and it’s a medical emergency you should phone triple zero (000).

What happens if you don’t comply with the quarantine rules?

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.

More information and support

Significant efforts are being undertaken to ensure that while you are quarantined, you have access to all essential items and services.

There are difficulties with being placed in quarantine accommodation, but we ask you to understand that this is a necessary action to protect all people of NSW, including those who would be at grave risk should they contract COVID-19.

For further information on air and maritime quarantine requirements and exemptions see air and maritime quarantine - frequently asked questions.

Further information regarding border restrictions can be found at NSW Government - Your guide to border restrictions.

Health and wellbeing support

The health care team will call you each day to check on your health and wellbeing. If you require support while in quarantine please let the team know.

The health care team is staffed with experienced doctors, nurses and mental health professionals who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted by phoning reception at your accommodation or the Health and Wellbeing number on 1300 290 994.

You can also contact one of these services for support or talk to your general practitioner:

  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
    A crisis support service that provides short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Line: 1800 512 348
    Provides ways to look after your mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
    Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
    A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.

If you become severely unwell and it’s a medical emergency you should phone 000.


In NSW smoking and using e-cigarettes in hotel quarantine is not permitted. You will not be able to smoke for the duration of your stay at the hotel. These laws protect people from harmful second-hand tobacco smoke. Further information is available at Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 and the Smoke-free Environment Regulation 2016.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches are available and can help with managing nicotine withdrawal. Being smoke free in quarantine may make you think about quitting smoking. There is help available. Call NSW Quitline (13 7848 or 13 QUIT) and For interpreter services Quitline Advisors: Arabic (1300 7848 03), Chinese (1300 7848 36) and Vietnamese (1300 7848 65).

Other support

You can contact hotel reception for personal care items such as toothpaste or sanitary items, arranging acceptance of care packages from friends or family and arranging acceptance of ordered takeaway meals.

For those who require special items that cannot be sourced through the hotel concierge, friends, family, or through online delivery services, you can contact Service NSW COVID-19 number on 13 77 88.

Chaplaincy services are also available through referral from Red Cross.

Translating and interpreting services are available on 13 14 50.

NSW Ombudsman

NSW Ombudsman handles complaints about most NSW public agencies, like Health and the Department of Communities and Justice, as well as NSW Government-funded community service providers.

To make a complaint, use the NSW Ombudsman's web form or email the NSW Ombudsman. If you are unable to put your complaint in writing, for example due to disability, or you believe your complaint is urgent, you can call the NSW Ombudsman on 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524. You may need to leave a voicemail.

Please note that as of 18 March 2020, the NSW Ombudsman is now operating remotely. Members of the public and stakeholders should be aware that delays in response times may be experienced. Read the latest information on NSW Ombudsman office closure and accessing services.

The NSW Ombudsman cannot handle complaints about the NSW Police Force. You can contact the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission. For Commonwealth agencies you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Current as at: Wednesday 21 April 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW