Close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case will no longer be required to isolate from 6pm on Friday, April 22, provided they comply with NSW Health guidelines.
The NSW Government announced the change on April 20.
The seven-day isolation period remains in place for anyone who has recorded a positive RAT or PCR result.
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 a set of guidelines.
They must not visit aged care, hospitals, disability, and correctional facilities unless a special exemption applies and they must wear a face mask in indoor settings outside the home.
They must undertake daily RAT tests before coming into close contact with people outside their household, where practicable, and avoid contact with elderly and immuno-compromised persons where possible.
They must work from home where practical and 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 tests 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.
The 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 April 30, 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 was a common sense approach which would allow the country to continue to move forward out of the pandemic.
He said strong vaccination rates had made the changes possible.
“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,” he said.
“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 the basic rules of hand hygiene, wearing a mask when you cannot socially distance and staying at home if you have symptoms would still apply.
“Most importantly if you still have symptoms you should not visit an aged care facility, hospital or an elderly relative,” he said.
The NSW Government is also working with health officials to finalise school settings before Term 2 begins, with further details to be released in the coming days.
In preparation for winter, the Government will 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.
More information is available at nsw.gov.au.
Information source: Media release, Apr 20, 2022, NSW Government