The NSW Government today announced close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case will not be required to isolate, provided they comply with NSW Health guidelines.
There are no changes for positive cases: the seven-day isolation requirement remains in place for anyone who has recorded a positive RAT or PCR result.
From 6pm on Friday 22 April, close contacts (defined as a household contact or an individual deemed by NSW Health to be a close contact) will not have to isolate, as long as they have no symptoms and comply with the following guidelines:
- Do not visit aged care, hospitals, disability, and correctional facilities unless a special exemption applies;
- Wear a face mask in indoor settings outside the home;
- Undertake daily RAT tests before coming into close contact with people outside their household, where practicable;
- Avoid contact with elderly and immunocompromised persons where possible;
- Work from home where practical;
- Notify their employer/educational facility that they are a close contact, and that they are not required to isolate as long as they comply with the above.
Close contacts will need to comply with the above guidelines for seven days from the time a person in their household tested positive for COVID-19.
Public health orders requiring key workforces to be vaccinated will be lifted, with vaccine requirements to be based on risk assessments under occupational work health and safety, in line with other jurisdictions. Orders requiring aged care and disability workers to be vaccinated will remain in force.
Consultation will take place with relevant stakeholders with details to be finalised in coming weeks.
These changes will mean the critical worker exemptions from isolation rules will no longer be required. However, close contacts will still need to comply with any COVID-19 safety measures that have been put in place in their workplace by employers.
From 30 April 2022, unvaccinated international returning travellers will not be required to undertake hotel quarantine. The current requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, including taking a Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours of arrival and complying with the NSW Health guidelines, will be extended to unvaccinated travellers.
Public transport capacity caps will also be lifted with the requirement to wear masks on public transport, planes, and indoors at airports and cruise terminals to remain in place.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the lifting of isolation rules for close contacts were common sense changes that would allow us to continue to move forward out of the pandemic.
“These isolation rules have been necessary but thanks to our strong vaccination rates, we can make the changes announced today,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This will provide immediate relief for so many workforces and businesses who have been hit hard by labour shortages as people are forced to isolate because they are a household contact.
“As the pandemic has evolved so has our response and this is another example where we have been able to make necessary changes safely and in a measured way.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said individuals still needed to exercise caution to protect vulnerable members of the community.
We are still in a pandemic and the basic rules of hand hygiene, wearing a mask when you cannot socially distance and staying at home if you have symptoms still apply,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Most importantly if you still have symptoms you should not visit an aged care facility, hospital or an elderly relative.”
In line with these changes the NSW Government is also working with health officials to finalise school settings before Term 2 begins, and further information in this regard will be released in the coming days.
In preparation for winter, the NSW Government will also continue to ensure Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are available to help protect vulnerable cohorts, including people with a disability, children, and young people in out-of-home care, vulnerable CALD communities and Aboriginal communities.
These RATs will be distributed to individuals and relevant service providers through the Department of Communities and Justice’s Stronger Communities agencies.
People aged 16 years and older can receive their booster dose at three months after receiving their second dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines. You can book your COVID-19 vaccine or your booster shot, via https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/vaccination/get-vaccinated.