COVID-19: Self-isolation rules

Government Directions on self-isolation 

On 15 March 2020 the WA government declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. This allowed it to use emergency powers to create legally enforceable directions (rules) which aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

There are two directions aimed at controlling the movement of people who have, or may have, COVID-19: 

These directions are summarised below.

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is a type of self-quarantine. It means you cannot leave your home for a period of time, except to get essential supplies, medical care, or if it is an emergency.

What are the rules about self-isolation in Western Australia?

In Western Australia, you must self-isolate for two weeks if you:

  • have arrived in Western Australia from overseas,
  • have arrived in Western Australia from interstate,
  • have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting to hear the results,
  • have been told by “a responsible officer” to self-isolate. 

You must also self-isolate if you have received a positive test or if you have been told by a responsible officer that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In such circumstances, you have to self-isolate until you are informed in writing by a responsible officer that you are no longer required to do so. If you are an inpatient in a hospital at the time you are informed of the positive diagnosis, you do not need to self-isolate as long as you are in hospital.

A responsible officer is someone working for the Department of Health or a health service provider. People will usually be told to self-isolate if they have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

There are some exceptions to the self-isolation rules. For example: if you live near border communities, if you have been granted an exemption on compassionate grounds, or if you are delivering essential services like health, emergency or freight services.

What could the punishment be if you fail to self-isolate?

If you break the rules about self-isolation, you could be charged by the police with breaking the law. The maximum penalty for failing to self-isolate is 12 months imprisonment or a fine of $50,000.


Reviewed: 18 May 2020


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