Self-isolation and quarantine advice for COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Information for returned travellers, contacts of known COVID-19 cases, and other people who have been advised to self-isolate.

You can download this page as a fact sheet: Home-Isolation Advice (PDF 195KB)

What is Self-isolation / Self-quarantine?

Isolation / Self-isolation - When a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected of having it (and doesn’t need to be in hospital), including while awaiting test results, they must stay in self-isolation.

Quarantine / Self-quarantine When a person is not sick but is required to stay away from others due to a risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as interstate or overseas travel, they must stay in self-quarantine.

All of these terms may be used under legal requirements under the Emergency Management Act, and you may be directed to remain isolated or quarantined by staff working for SA Health or SAPOL .

Who needs to isolate / quarantine for 14 days?

People who:

  • have arrived from overseas or from a cruise ship
  • have arrived from interstate (some exemptions apply – go to sa.gov.au for more information)
  • have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

You must follow all instructions given to you by SA Police or the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB), SA Health when you are advised to self-quarantine.

How is this being monitored and enforced?

SA Police will be undertaking periodic checks on people who have returned from overseas and interstate to ensure they are complying with the mandatory 14 days of self-quarantine.

Any individual who does not comply faces a maximum penalty of $20,000.

How to isolate

During the 14 days of isolation you must stay at home (or your hotel room) and not leave unless you need to seek urgent medical care.

If you live with others, you must stay in your own dedicated room. If you do not isolate yourself correctly, the people around you are more likely to get COVID-19. As a result, they may become unwell, and may also need to isolate.

If you are in a hotel, make sure the hotel knows you are in isolation, and avoid contact with other guests or staff. Use room service or online delivery services for food, and ask for your meal to be left outside the door. The hotel will provide you with further instruction regarding towels and bed linen.

  • Do not go to public places including work, school, childcare, university, shopping centres, public parks or any other public, social, or religious gatherings.
  • Do not go shopping or restaurants – shop online or have family or friends deliver what you need to your door.
  • Do not have visitors to your home. Only people who usually live with you should be in the home – they must not sleep or be in the same room as you.
  • If you must leave home, such as to seek urgent medical care, wear a surgical mask. If you do not have a mask, take extra care to cover your coughs and sneezes, wash or sanitise your hands, and keep at least 1.5 metres away from others.

Living with other people

Others who live with you are not required to self-isolate unless they are also a suspected case (e.g. a close contact of a confirmed case).

However, if they develop symptoms and are suspected to have COVID-19, they will be classified as close contacts and will then need to be isolated.

  • If you are in your own home, avoid contact with other people living with you. Maintain a 1.5 metre distance if you need to briefly move through shared living spaces and wear a mask if you have one.
  • Stay in your own room and use a dedicated bathroom and toilet (if available).
  • Avoid sharing towels, toiletries or other household items with others in your house.
  • Wash clothes and bed linen in a separate load, using a hot wash cycle. Hang clothes out to dry, or use a machine dryer.
  • Do not use the kitchen when other people are in the room, or have someone living in the home leave food at the door of your room. Eat your meal in your room.
  • Make sure you have separate items like plates and cutlery. Wash dishes using the dishwasher or wash well in hot soapy water.
  • All frequently touched items (eg. remotes, door knobs, light switches, benches) should be cleaned regularly with a detergent or disinfectant. Use disposable cleaning cloths such as paper towel or disposable wipes or cloths.

Transport

You should not be travelling when you are in isolation. You need to stay at home, unless it is a medical emergency.

If you need to travel to your location for isolation (for example, travelling from the airport or health service), you should wear a surgical mask if you have one. You are advised to use a personal mode of transport, such as a car, to minimise exposure to others.

If you need to use public transport (e.g. taxis, ride-hail services, buses), avoid direct contact with other passengers, drivers and transport staff. Practise good hygiene and physical distancing (wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your cough and sneeze in a clean tissue or your arm, and avoid contact with others - stay more than 1.5 metres away from other people).

Monitor symptoms

When in isolation, monitor yourself for symptoms including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or loss of taste and smell. Other symptoms may include body aches, diarrhoea, fatigue or muscle.

What do I do if I get sick?

Call a doctor or hospital and tell them that you are in isolation for coronavirus (COVID-19) and that you are unwell.

Follow the specific instructions from the doctor or hospital when seeking medical care.

If you are unsure what to do, call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing call 000, ask for an ambulance – tell them you are in isolation because of COVID-19.

Going outside

If you live in a private house, it is safe for you to go into your garden or courtyard alone. If you live on a rural property, you must remain within the boundaries of your property.

If you live in an apartment, hotel or shared lodgings, you should avoid common areas and do not go to public parks or gardens.

If you live with others, wear a mask if you have one and/or practice cough etiquette if you need to move through common areas of the house such as the kitchen. While you are in isolation in your room, keep your door closed. You can open your window for fresh air.

You cannot take your dog or other pets for walks outside the boundary of your property.

Primary producers

If you are a primary producer and have been ordered to self-isolate, you must remain within the boundaries of your property and avoid contact with other people.

Essential travel within and between land parcels is acceptable, provided you avoid contact with any staff/contractors and visitors (e.g. stay in your vehicle with windows closed to allow contractors or deliveries to enter the property via a gate.)

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you must not travel outside the boundaries of your main property except to seek testing for COVID-19 or for urgent medical care.

Cleaning

To minimise the spread of any germs, you should regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door handles, light switches, kitchen and bathroom areas.

Clean with household detergent (liquid or wipes) and if available, disinfectant (e.g. sodium hypochlorite / bleach based products).

Rubbish and waste

Dispose of all used personal care items such as tissues, disposable masks, gloves, and other items contaminated with respiratory secretions or other body fluids in a rubbish bin inside your room which is lined with a plastic bag.

When the bin in your room is 3/4 full, “tie-off” the plastic bag to prevent spillage of the contents. Avoid touching the inside of the bag and dispose of the bag into the general household waste bin. This waste should NOT go into the recycling bin.

After handling and disposal of waste, hands must be washed using soap and water then dried with a clean towel that is dedicated for your personal use only.

Food shopping

Do not go shopping while you are in isolation. Arrange for food and essential items to be dropped off at your door by family or friends, or use online shopping services offered by many supermarkets. Ensure you ask for items/food to be delivered in disposable bags and left at your door.

Other options may include ordering food from restaurants or services that can provide home delivery.

Do not interact face-to-face with people delivering your items or food.

Accessing medicines

If you need medicines (including prescription medicines), ask a family member or friend (who is not in isolation) to deliver them to your home.

Some pharmacies offer a home delivery service. To prevent exposing other people, make sure you wear a mask when receiving a delivery and maintain a 1.5 metre distance, or have them left at your door.

Find out more in the Consumer factsheet on Emergency supply of essential medicines and the Coronavirus (PDF 161KB).

Restrictions on entering certain remote and regional areas in South Australia

Movement into certain remote and regional areas across South Australia has been restricted to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Anyone wishing to enter a designated community must self-isolate for 14 days before they can do so and must receive permission to enter.

More information is available at covid-19.sa.gov.au

Taking care of your health and wellbeing

Being in isolation can be stressful and/or boring. Some suggestions to take care of your health and wellbeing include:

  • Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media.
  • Reassure young children using age-appropriate language.
  • Where possible, keep up normal daily routines that you can do while in your room, such as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of fluids and in-room exercise if you do not have a backyard.
  • If you don’t have a backyard, consider finding an exercise or yoga video online (e.g. YouTube).
  • Arrange to work from home if this option is available to you.
  • Ask your child’s school to supply assignments or homework by post or e-mail.
  • Do things that help you relax and use isolation as an opportunity to do activities you don’t usually have time for.

Hardship support

SA COVID Relief Centre

In you need additional emergency supplies, for example, if you cannot buy food or other essential items due to financial hardship, or do not have a safe place to stay during isolation, additional support is available.

You can access this by calling the SA COVID Relief Centre on 1300 705 336.

Telecross REDi COVID-19

Australian Red Cross has partnered with the Government of South Australia to provide phone-based support to people in self-isolation as a result of COVID-19.

Specially trained Red Cross staff and volunteers conduct the calls, supporting the wellbeing of community members, as well as reiterating up-to-date government public health advice. Further steps will be taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the person as appropriate.

Community members impacted can access the service by:

Mental health support

Visit the SA Health website for more information, contact one of the services below for support, or talk to your general practitioner (GP).

South Australia COVID-19 telephone and online supports:

  • SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line (8.00 am – 8.00 pm, 7 days): 1800 632 753
  • Online chat: www.SACOVIDMentalHealth.org.au
  • COVID-19 Mental Health Peer Support Line (5.00 pm – 11.30 pm, 7 days) 1800 022 020 (a peer support line delivered by people with lived experience of mental health)
  • Online chat: www.skylight.org.au/covid-19-support-line
  • ASKPEACE (9.00 am – 5.00 pm, Monday – Friday): (08) 8245 8110 (a mental health support line for culturally and linguistically diverse consumers)
  • Thirrili: 1800 841 313 (a mental health support line for Aboriginal consumers)
  • Carers SA: 1800 422 737 (for families and carers of the elderly, people with disabilities and mental illness).

Other telephone and online supports:

For people under 25:

For urgent assistance, contact the Mental Health Triage Service (24/7) on 13 14 65.

See the Mental Health information for people in home isolation fact sheet (PDF 325KB) for more information and support on the mental health impacts of COVID-19 for people in home isolation.

Finishing your isolation period

If you are isolated because of travel outside of South Australia, once you have self-isolated for 14 days and are symptom-free, you no longer need to self-isolate.

You do not need to get a medical clearance certificate to return to work, school or childcare.

If you are in isolation because you have been notified that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you must remain in isolation until the date provided to you by the Communicable Disease Control Branch, even if you are symptom-free.

Translated information

Visit the Australian Government Health website for a range of COVID-19 factsheets and resources in international language translations. The resources include fact sheets, guidelines and other publications.

Further information

South Australia COVID-19 Information Line (8.00 am - 8.00pm, seven days): 1800 253 787

Translating or interpreting services: 131 450