Reduced isolation period for COVID-19 cases and close contacts

12 September 2022

The isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 has changed from 7 to 5 complete days.

The changes apply to people with COVID and close contacts, provided they have no symptoms at Day 5, and came into effect from 12.01am on Friday 9 September.

Anyone who was a case or close contact at that time should follow the new rules and can leave isolation as of 9 September if they meet the updated requirements.

Cases and close contacts with symptoms on Day 5 of isolation will need to stay home until acute symptoms have cleared, or a medical practitioner provides clearance to leave isolation.

Close contacts must take a rapid antigen test (RAT) on Day 5 (or have a PCR no earlier than Day 4) and return a negative result to finish isolation at the end of 5 complete days.

Elderly woman on phone

7-day exclusion period

While the isolation period is 5 days, there is a 7 day ‘exclusion period’ for cases and close contacts.

COVID-19 cases and close contacts must not enter high risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, aged care facilities and residential care facilities (including disability care and mental health residential facilities), for at least 7 days following a positive test (cases) or becoming a close contact.

Close contacts without symptoms who work in a high-risk setting may attend work during their 7-day exclusion period if their employer agrees, they follow all requirements at their workplace and are fully vaccinated. They must also meet the existing requirements for leaving their place of isolation.

For all cases and close contacts, mask use is recommended in indoor settings on Days 6 and 7 of their exclusion periods.

Close contacts: work from home, avoid gatherings, test negative

During the 5-day isolation period, close contacts without symptoms are encouraged to work from home where possible and avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Close contacts without symptoms may leave their isolation premises during the 5 days of isolation if they:

  • record a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) undertaken on each day they leave, and
  • always wear a mask outside the home.

Free RATs are available through the WA Free RAT program. Visit for more information including collection locations in metropolitan and regional WA.