Under public health orders by the Minister for Health and Medical Research, people who arrive in Australia from overseas or by vessel from another port outside of NSW must enter into quarantine for 14 days as directed by NSW Police.
This is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the community and heavy penalties apply to those who don’t comply with the order.
Some people are being quarantined for 14 days in hotels to help contain the pandemic.
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 self-isolation.
We know being placed in mandatory isolation is an inconvenience, but the NSW Government is determined to make the 14-day period as comfortable as possible.
The 14-day quarantine period
To assist in compliance of the quarantine order and, more importantly, to reduce the spread of the virus, “visitors” will be housed in designated accommodation for a 14-day quarantine period.
During this time, they will not be permitted to have visitors unless they are entering the premises for medical purposes or due to an emergency.
At the end of the 14-day quarantine period
After 14 days of quarantine, if you remain well then you do not require any tests before being released from isolation. Read more about release from isolation
Monitor symptoms and seek help if they develop
Testing people without symptoms for COVID-19 does not help identify people who may become sick later.
This is why it is so important to detect any sign of infection as early as possible.
You should monitor yourself for any new symptoms. Watch particularly for:
- shortness of breath (difficulty breathing).
Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.
If you develop symptoms, you should seek help as soon as possible.
You have three main options:
- Call the healthdirect hotline on 1800 022 222. When you call, tell them you are a close contact.
- Call your local doctor to make an appointment, and tell them you are a close contact.
- Visit your nearest COVID-19 clinic. When you arrive, immediately tell staff that you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19.
Note: If you go to see a doctor make sure you wear a surgical mask while you go there. You should travel directly to the doctor or COVID-19 clinic by private car. Do not use taxi's, ride share or public transport.
If you become severely unwell and it’s a medical emergency you should phone 000. Tell the ambulance staff that you have been in isolation for COVID-19 and immediately inform staff where you have travelled, if applicable.
Of note: If you test negative you still need to remain in isolation until the original 14 day isolation period finishes.
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 $5500 fine for each day the offence continues.
Support in hotels
Significant efforts are being undertaken to ensure that while people are quarantined, they have access to all essential items and services.
If they run out of personal care items, such as toothpaste or sanitary items, they can contact hotel reception as some supplies have been made available.
Room service meals are being provided free of charge, with physical distancing guidelines being strictly adhered to by hotel staff.
There are difficulties with being placed in hotel quarantine, but we ask people 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.
Certain hotels are accepting care packages from friends and family members of those in self-isolation. It’s important for people to check with the hotel’s reception or concierge prior to arranging any delivery.
Travellers can order takeaway meals once a day from outside the hotel if they make arrangements with the hotel concierge.
The NSW Government can also supply nappies and other specialty items for children. We encourage people to check availability with the hotel concierge and if that is unsuccessful call Service NSW on 13 77 88.
If there are any issues that cannot be resolved with hotel staff, the NSW Police are here to help if you reach out to one of the officers on-site.
Health and wellbeing
A dedicated health and wellbeing number has been established for returning travellers who are in quarantine facilities. They can call 1300 290 994 for physical and mental health support.
Each hotel is being staffed with experienced doctors, nurses and mental health professionals. Every day travellers will have access to
- registered nurses
- assistant nurses
- a general practitioner (doctor) will do a daily round of the hotel
- medical practitioners are on-call 24/7 with the same doctor for continuity.
Travellers will also receive a phone call from an experienced nurse with expertise in mental health. The nurse will check on your/their welfare and provide information about what is available in the hotel as additional support.
A NSW Health fact sheet Look after your mental health – COVID-19 provides support information that anyone can access online or by telephone.
Please also contact one of these services for support or talk to your general practitioner.
Chaplaincy services are also available through referral from Red Cross.
The most important thing is anyone who has health-related concerns, is urged to contact Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. If it is an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).
The Federal Government has announced a $2.4 billion health package in response to the COVID-19 threat. This allows health professionals to support Australians, including those at high risk.
This package includes mental health and bulk-billed Telehealth services.
Healthdirect is available and can be contacted on 1800 022 222.
The health and welfare of returning travellers is of paramount concern to us all. Please utilise all the services available and thank you for playing your part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Emergency relief packages available
For those having difficulty accessing assistance during the self-isolation caused by COVID-19, the NSW Office of Emergency Management and Foodbank are coordinating emergency relief packages.
These packages contain two weeks of food and personal care items for someone in directed self-isolation. The packages include items like pasta, long-life milk, canned vegetables and toilet paper.
To request a package for yourself or someone in need, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit Service NSW - COVID-19.
It’s important to note that these are emergency packages for people in mandatory self-isolation who have no family and friends to support them.
Woolworths Basic Box
Woolworths have designed a Basics Box for customers unable to visit stores. This includes the elderly, people with a disability, those with compromised immunity and people in mandatory self-isolation.
Woolworths are accepting orders online or over the phone for the $80 Basics Box. The cost includes contactless delivery to the door or facility. The box includes food and household essentials.
The Office of Emergency Management's Disaster Welfare Assistance Line is helping people affected by COVID-19 to access information, including the assistance packages provided by State and Federal governments.
The Disaster Welfare Assistance Line is part of the information service offered by Service NSW. Customers are directed to call 13 77 88.
Service NSW is the community contact point for people seeking assistance.
For those who require special items that cannot be sourced through the hotel concierge, friends, family, or through online delivery services, they contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.
Service NSW can be contacted 24 hours a day for all non-medical coronavirus (COVID-19) enquiries for individuals and businesses. There is translating and interpreting service available on 13 14 50.
The NSW Government and its key agencies are doing everything they can to support the community and visitors as they spend 14 days in self-isolation. We ask people to patient and follow the rules because keeping people safe is crucial at this time.
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 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.