Information current as of May 2, 2022

The Australian and state governments have updated the definition of close contact. You are now a close contact if you:

  • Live in the same house as someone who tests positive

  • Spent 4 hours or longer with someone in a home, or health or aged care environment; or

  • Are determined as one by your state or territory health department.

What happens if I’m a close contact?

If someone you live in a household (or household-like arrangement such as a care facility) tests positive for COVID, you will be identified as a close contact. As soon as you find out, you must be tested, either at your nearest free testing facility or by testing at home using a rapid antigen test.

If you test positive you must isolate for seven days from the date your infection was confirmed with a test. If you remain asymptomatic during this period, no further tests are required and you can leave isolation after seven days. However if you do develop symptoms, you must take a rapid antigen test and receive a negative result before you leave isolation. If you've been isolating for over seven days but symptoms still remain, you must continue to isolate until symptoms resolve.

A close contact who returns a negative test is not required to isolate but you must monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, immediately self-isolate and get tested.

As the COVID-19 rules and restrictions vary depending on which state or territory you live in, we've outlined the important things you need to know regarding close contacts and isolating for each state and territory.

Close contacts in the Australian Capital Territory

The following COVID-19 close contact rules are currently in effect in the ACT:

  • Close contacts no longer required to quarantine.

  • They will have to wear a mask indoors avoid sensitive settings, and work or study from home where it is practical.

  • Individuals must return a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours before attending their place of work or study, and then every 48 hours if ongoing attendance is required.

  • If a close contact develops any symptoms they must immediately get tested and isolate until their symptoms resolve and a negative test is returned.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official ACT government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in New South Wales

The following COVID-19 close contact rules are currently in effect in NSW:

  • Household and close contacts do not have to isolate, but they must have no symptoms, cannot visit high-risk venues such as hospitals and aged care settings, and must wear a face mask indoors when outside of home.

  • Household contacts and close contacts must also undertake daily RATs and work from home where they can.

  • No changes for positive cases, who are still required to complete seven days of isolation.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official NSW government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in the Northern Territory

Household and close contacts who have had at least three doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine no longer need to isolate. From the date you were last in contact with the infectious person you must:

  • Have a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test:

    • within three days of becoming a close contact

    • on day six of becoming a close contact

  • For seven days wear a mask when indoors at a place which is not your residence

  • For seven days wear a mask when outdoors when you cannot maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people

  • For seven days avoid visiting high risk settings such as a hospital, disability shared care house, residential aged care facility or correctional facility

  • Inform your employer or school that you are a close contact.

It is also recommended that you:

  • Work or study from home if possible

  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19

  • Avoid large or crowded indoor gatherings

  • Take a Rapid Antigen Test before attending indoor gatherings with people you don’t live with, your workplace or education facilities.

For the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated (having had less than three doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine), you must immediately isolate for seven days and take a Rapid Antigen Test within three days of the start of your isolation period and on day six of your isolation period.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official NT government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in Queensland

The following COVID-19 close contact rules are currently in effect in Queensland:

  • Close contacts no longer required to quarantine provided they have no symptoms.

If you're a close contact, you can continue your daily routine provided that you:

  • Monitor for symptoms for seven days from the time you became a close contact.

  • Test negative every second day for a week from the day of becoming a close contact (day zero, two, four and six). A self-test using a RAT kit will be allowed, testing does not need to occur at a testing clinic.

  • Wear a mask outside of home for seven days.

  • Don’t visit any vulnerable settings for seven days.

  • Let your employer know you are a close contact, and work from home if possible.

Anyone who has any COVID-19 symptoms must isolate at home until symptoms resolve, even if they test negative on a RAT.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official QLD government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in South Australia

In South Australia, close contacts are defined as:

  • A household member or intimate partner of a COVID-19 case during their infectious period

  • Someone who has had close personal interaction with a COVID-19 case during their infectious period:

    • for 15 minutes or more and

    • where masks are not worn and

    • in close physical proximity and

    • in an indoor setting

  • Someone who has been notified by SA Health that they are a close contact

  • Someone who has been to an exposure site listed on the SA Health website.

People with COVID-19 are considered infectious two days before their symptoms started or if they didn’t have any noticeable symptoms, they are considered infectious two days before they had their positive COVID-19 test taken.

The follow COVID-19 close contact and isolation rules are currently in effect in SA:

  • Close contacts no longer required to quarantine

  • Rather than isolating for seven days, close contacts will have to take five rapid antigen tests (RATs) over a seven-day period that would've previously been the self-quarantine period following their exposure to the virus.

  • If any flu-like symptoms develop, you must get a PCR nasal swab test.

  • They will have to wear a face mask when outside the house, in indoor areas, and will be prohibited from visiting high-risk settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official SA government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in Tasmania

You are considered a close contact if:

  • You are living with someone infected with the virus.

  • You have spent four hours or longer with someone in a home, or a health or aged-care setting since they developed COVID.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 12 weeks are not considered to be close contacts and do not need to get tested. If it has been more than 12 weeks since you had COVID-19, normal rules apply again and you will be considered a close contact if you meet the above definitions.

Close contacts no longer required to quarantine, but they must:

  • Immediately have a COVID-19 test.

  • Test daily with a RAT for seven days whenever they leave home. If they are not leaving home every day, they must do a second test on day six

  • Isolate and test immediately if you have any symptoms, even mild.

  • Isolate immediately if you test positive.

  • Wear a face mask outside their home, when in any indoor space, unless a mask exemption is in place. Read more about exemptions here.

  • Tell their workplace you are a close contact

  • Not attend any high-risk settings such as hospitals, aged care facilities, residential disability settings and correctional facilities, unless they're are a critical worker with an exemption. Read about exemptions for critical workers here.

  • Not provide in-home care services for aged or disability clients, unless a critical worker exemption is in place.

  • Not attend a support school unless a critical worker exemption is in place.

It is also recommended that close contacts:

  • Avoid large gatherings and social events where physical distancing is not possible.

  • Avoid contact with those at risk of severe disease including elderly, immunocompromised and those with chronic conditions.

  • Maintain all COVID safe behaviours.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official TAS government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in Victoria

You are considered a household or close contact if you:

  • Live in the same house as someone who tests positive

  • Spent 4 hours or longer with someone in a home, or health or aged care environment.

The household/close contact period is seven days and you do not need to quarantine during this time. However, you must:

  • Test negative using a rapid antigen test on 5 days of the 7-day period (with tests spaced at least 24 hours apart)

  • Wear a mask indoors when outside your home

  • Do not visit hospitals or care facilities

  • Notify your employer or education facility

If you do not follow these steps, you must quarantine for the seven-day period – and you are required to get tested on day one and day six,

If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, you must report your result and isolate for seven days. Visit Reporting your result page for more information.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official VIC government COVID-19 website here.

Close contacts in Western Australia

You are now a close or household contact if you:

  • Live in the same house as someone who tests positive.

  • Spent 4 hours or longer with someone in a home, or health or aged care environment; or

  • Are determined as one by WA Health.

The infectious period is taken from 48 hours before onset of symptoms, or 48 hours before the positive test result, if they do not have symptoms, until the end of their isolation period.

Close or household contacts no longer need to isolate for seven days if they returned a negative test and have no symptoms. However, they must:

  • Monitor for symptoms for the next seven days.

  • Return a negative Rapid Anitgen Test every day they plan on leaving their home.

  • Be able to provide photographic evidence of a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken on that day.

  • Wear a mask including from when leaving home until their return.

  • Avoid high-risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, disability and aged care facilities, and correctional facilities.

  • Avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness.

  • Work or study from home, where possible.

If you're a close contact and you develop symptoms, you must isolate for seven days after their positive test result and follow the requirements for positive COVID-19 cases.

For more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 close contact rules and instructions, head over to the official WA government COVID-19 website here.


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All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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