First steps as a close contact - coronavirus (COVID-19)

You are a close contact if you:

  • live with a person that has COVID-19, or
  • have been with a person that has COVID-19 for more than 4 hours in a house or other accommodation (such as an apartment, shared accommodation, residential aged care facility or hospital).

You are not a close contact if you have been in a separate part of the house or accommodation with your own entry, and you have not had contact with the diagnosed person or used any shared or common areas they've been in for more than four hours.

Next 5 days

If you are a close contact, for the next 5 days you must:

  • wear a face mask outside of your home, including
    • indoors
    • outdoors if you can't physically distance yourself from people (other than members of your household)
  • not visit these vulnerable and high-risk settings except for exceptional or compassionate circumstances (e.g. end of life visits), to receive care or to work there if you meet the requirements
    • an aged care facility
    • a disability care setting
    • a healthcare facility like a GP or a hospital (unless you are getting urgent medical care for yourself)
  • follow the Guidelines for close contacts.

A person who has had COVID-19 recently and finished isolation in the past 28 days days is exempt from the requirements of a close contact but should still follow the guidelines.

Children under 12 do not have to wear a mask but are encouraged to where safe. Face masks, including surgical masks, are not considered safe for children under 2.

You don't have to wear a face mask if you are a person who has a physical or mental health condition which makes wearing one unsuitable.

If you test positive

If you test positive, follow the first steps if you have COVID-19.

Close contact working at a vulnerable facility

If you are a close contact and you work at a hospital, aged care facility or disability accommodation facility, you can return to work if you:

  • test negative for COVID-19, and
  • do not have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

You must let your employer know as soon as possible after you become a close contact so that they can take additional protective measures as needed before you return to work.

You must:

  • return a negative COVID-19 test result before your first shift
  • return a negative COVID-19 test result every second day during the 5 day period after becoming a close contact
  • wear a mask and additional personal protective equipment as another layer of protection
  • meet any additional requirements requested by the facility where you work.

A worker who becomes symptomatic must stay at home and follow the requirements for a symptomatic close contact.

Get the things you need

If you are a close contact with symptoms, you need to stay home until you’re well.

It’s important you have everything you need for staying home:

  • any deliveries must be no contact
  • ask friends or family members to get food and medication for you
  • arrange a food delivery service. Have all food left outside your house. Do not let any delivery person into your home or accommodation.

If you need a prescription filled, arrange this with your usual pharmacist or GP. They can:

  • deliver it to your home or accommodation
  • give your prescription to a friend or family member who visits the pharmacy.

Home care workers and other providers of essential services like nurses are exempt from restrictions to enter your home. If you receive these services it is important that you let the service providers know that you are a close contact and are in quarantine.

If you can’t get family or friends to help you, contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

Look after yourself

While you are staying home, use our tips on:

If you need any other support while you’re in isolation, read our guide on where to get help.