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Self-isolation rules are ending. What does this mean for people in NSW?

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Changes to self-isolation rules

From 14 October 2022, self-isolating at home will no longer be mandatory if you test positive for COVID-19.

Until 14 October, you must continue to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. Household and close contacts must follow the guidelines.

NSW Health strongly recommends that sick people who have tested positive for COVID-19 stay home until their symptoms have gone.

Some restrictions will still apply for high-risk settings such as healthcare and aged care facilities.

More information will be available here soon.


If you test positive on a rapid antigen test or a PCR test, you are a confirmed COVID-19 case. You must immediately self-isolate for 5 days from the date of your positive test and follow the advice for people testing positive for COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 at home.

The 5-day isolation period is applicable from 9 September until 13 October.

People who test positive for COVID-19 cannot work at certain premises for 7 days after they test positive. For details about these premises, visit Rules for people in NSW.

For more information about how to self-isolate, read the Self-Isolation and Close contacts 

People exposed to COVID-19

If you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should follow the advice of people exposed to COVID-19 to understand your risk and what you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community.

If you are a household or close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has no symptoms, you must follow the NSW Health household and close contacts guidelines.

People with symptoms

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, you should get tested immediately. You can do this by taking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at home, or by getting a PCR test. Even if you are vaccinated, you should still get tested. 

People who test positive for COVID-19

Finding out if you are a confirmed case of COVID-19

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should follow the information for people testing positive for COVID-19 and manage COVID-19 safely at home. 

You must register your positive test result as soon as possible to access essential health care support and advice based on your COVID-19 risk.

Penalties for not self-isolating as directed

The self-isolation rules are enforceable under the Public Health Order (COVID-19 Self-isolation). If NSW Health tells you to self-isolate in writing (including SMS), not following the rules is 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.

The NSW Police may also issue on-the-spot fines to individuals of:

  • $5000 for failure to comply with obligations to self-isolate if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, including staying at home or in hospital, as determined by a doctor, nurse, paramedic or authorised contact tracer; providing details of contact with other persons and places you have visited; and complying with NSW Health guidelines 
  • $5000 for failure to comply with obligations to self-isolate by an authorised contact tracer if you are a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, and failure to self-isolate at the residence or place determined by the doctor, nurse, paramedic or authorised contact tracer to be suitable to reside in
  • For corporations, on-the-spot fines of $10,000 apply for failure to comply with obligations relating to self-isolation. 

Requirements for people arriving from overseas

All passengers, flight crew and mariners arriving in NSW from overseas must follow the rules for international passengers.  

From 30 April 2022, hotel quarantine is no longer required for unvaccinated international passengers and maritime crew.

Self-isolation means you must stay at your home or accommodation and remain separated from others. You can only leave to get medical care (such as a COVID-19 test) or in an emergency. You cannot have visitors.

For the latest information, refer to the NSW Government's page on Self-isolation rules.

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