About quarantine and isolation

Last Updated: 23 Sep 2021 5:51pm

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What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine

Quarantine applies to people who are believed to have been exposed to the disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to the disease and do not know it.

In Tasmania, you will be required to quarantine if in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania you spent time in a medium or high-risk area or attended a medium or high risk premises. Depending on the risk you pose, you will be directed to quarantine at either a Government facility (if directed) or suitable premises (link to Suitable Premises page) for 14 days. Read more about the Directions in Relation to Persons Arriving in Tasmania (link).

Alternatively, you will be required to quarantine if you are a close or casual contact (link to Contacts page) of a confirmed COVID-19 case. If this is you, you will be specified under a formal legal direction that you must not leave your house or suitable premises (link to Suitable Premises page) for the period instructed by Public Health Services. The period of time you will need to quarantine will depend on your circumstance. See the Quarantine Direction (link).

Isolation

Isolation applies to people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and are separated from people who have not been diagnosed.

If you have been asked to isolate it means you are a confirmed case of COVID-19. If you have been directed to isolate, you must remain at the place you have been directed to until you are released from isolation. See the Isolation Direction for more information.

If you have been asked to self-isolate it means you are asked not to leave your house or suitable premises until you have been advised by Public Health it is safe to do so. For example, while you are awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

What does it mean if I have to quarantine or isolate?

If you’ve been told to quarantine or isolate, you must stay at the location where you have been directed by Public Health Services or an authorised officer, for the amount of time you have been told to.

Depending on your situation, a suitable premises may be a government-managed quarantine facility, your home or another approved location.

The length of time you will need to quarantine or isolate will depend on your circumstances.

While in quarantine or isolation, you can only leave that place:

  • to get tested for COVID-19
  • to leave Tasmania (note – does not apply to diagnosed cases)
  • to access urgent healthcare that cannot be provided over the phone
  • in an emergency, including as directed by emergency services (police, fire, ambulance, SES)

You must not leave your place of quarantine or isolation for any other reason, including to go to work, school, childcare, university, shops or attend public gatherings.

People who usually live in the place you are quarantining or isolating can remain there, but you must not have visitors, even if they are in quarantine or isolation as well. You must keep away from all other people. You will be advised if the people you live with are also required to isolate or quarantine.

Let your family, friends and neighbours know you are in quarantine or isolation and tell them not to visit. Consider putting a note on your door to let people know.

How long do I need to be in quarantine or isolation?

The length of time you need to be in quarantine depends on the reason you are in quarantine or isolation. For example:

  • If you are in quarantine because you spent time in an area or premises classified as medium or high-risk for COVID-19, you will need to quarantine 14 days on arrival in Tasmania. If that high-risk area or premises is reclassified as medium or low risk, the length of time you need to quarantine may be shortened.
  • If you are in quarantine because you are a primary contact of a confirmed case (i.e. you’ve been near someone known to have COVID-19), you will need to isolate for 14 days from being near that person, or as otherwise advised to you.
  • If you are in isolation because you are a secondary contact (a contact of a contact) or a casual contact, your time in quarantine might be less than 14 days.
  • If you are in self-isolation because you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result, you are asked to isolate until you return a negative result. If you return a positive result Public Health will advise the next steps.

Public Health will always tell you how long you need to be in quarantine or self-isolation and when you can exit quarantine. If you are unsure, call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Do I need a certificate to prove my quarantine or isolation is complete?

Once you have met all the requirements of quarantine or isolation, you don’t need a certificate to return to work or school.

Do I need to complete the full 14-day quarantine if I receive a negative test result during this time?

Yes. The people who need to quarantine are at risk of becoming infectious (able to spread the virus) and developing COVID-19 symptoms at any time during their quarantine period. You could pass COVID-19 to others before you realise you have it.

A negative result only shows you did not have enough virus in your body to show up when the sample was taken. It often takes around five days for the virus to start showing up; it can take up to 14 days.

If you have the virus but it hasn’t spread enough in your body to show up yet, the result will be negative. A day or so later, your result might be positive.

What if I have already completed quarantine interstate?

Travellers who have completed a 14 day quarantine period in an interstate government managed facility because they recently arrived from overseas, are not required to quarantine on arrival in Tasmania unless they have spent time in a high or medium risk domestic setting, or have been identified as a close or casual contact.

What COVID-19 testing is available while I’m in quarantine?

People in government-managed accommodation will be contacted directly, as they are required to be tested at their accommodation for COVID-19 within 48 hours of entering quarantine and after day 12 of their quarantine period.

Travellers quarantining in other suitable premises (e.g. at home) are also required to be tested within 48 hours of entering quarantine and after day 12 of their quarantine period.

All persons should be tested if they display any cold or flu-like symptoms during or after completing their quarantine period.

If you refuse the mandatory COVID-19 tests while in quarantine, you may be required to remain in quarantine for a further period as directed by the Deputy State Controller.

Read more about COVID-19 testing.

What should I do if I develop symptoms after leaving quarantine or isolation?

If you develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 after leaving quarantine or isolation, you should isolate yourself if possible, then call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or your GP to get tested. Tell them about your symptoms and that you have recently been in quarantine.

If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. Tell the operator and the ambulance officer that you have recently been in quarantine.

Can I apply for an exemption from quarantine?

If you meet the criteria for Essential Traveller (Specified Persons) status or eligible maritime crew you may be exempted from the 14 day quarantine requirement but you must still comply with the conditions described in Conditions for Essential Travellers.

Essential Traveller applications must be submitted as part of registering to travel to Tasmania using the G2G PASS system. Read more about G2G Pass.

Can I leave quarantine if I am a fly-in, fly-out worker?

Some fly-in fly-out workers from low and medium risk areas interstate are able to apply to enter Tasmania as an Essential Traveller. If approved, they are not required to quarantine but must comply with existing Public Health direction while in Tasmania.

Read more about Fly-in fly-out workers.

If not approved as an Essential Traveller you will be required to quarantine at your primary residence as per the home quarantine conditions.

If you are required to leave Tasmania to return to work before the end of your 14 day quarantine period, you may do so but must:

  • transit directly from your primary residence to the port of departure; and
  • maintain hand hygiene and physical distancing during transit.

Does the quarantine period apply to commercial fishers and recreational boaters?

Commercial fishers and recreational boaters do not need to quarantine if they have not been interstate or overseas, and have not taken on crew from interstate or overseas in the past 14 days. You may be asked to verify this on arrival to Tasmania.

If you have taken on crew at sea or have departed Tasmanian waters, you must contact Biosecurity Tasmania (03 6165 3777 or 1300 368 550) who will assist you with the necessary quarantine arrangements.

Mariner applications for exemption from quarantine were previously submitted online by the employer. Under the new system, the individual traveller must make the application via the G2G PASS system. The traveller should upload evidence from their employer to support the application.

The Deputy State Controller offers some class exemptions under paragraph 8 of the schedule of specified persons to eligible maritime crew from being required to quarantine in government-designated accommodation for a period of 14 days. Strict eligibility criteria applies. Read more about Class Exemptions for maritime workers.

When can I leave quarantine?

The quarantine period is 14 days from the date you arrived in Tasmania, or from the date you last had exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19. Therefore, you must stay in quarantine for 14 nights to complete the full quarantine period (unless otherwise directed by Public Health or the Deputy State Controller).

If you are in mandatory quarantine at a government-designated accommodation, you can check out of the accommodation on the 15th day of quarantine.

If you are in home quarantine and you have complied with testing requirements that might apply to you, you can leave home on the 15th day of quarantine. If you are required to have two tests, and have not been tested, you may be directed to quarantine for a further 10 days or until you undertake a COVID-19 test. Public Health Services will contact you on day 12 to check if you have any symptoms.

If you develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 after leaving quarantine, you should call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or your GP. Tell them about your symptoms and that you have recently been in quarantine.

Quarantine calculator

For assistance in calculating when you can leave quarantine see the quarantine calculator.