COVID-19: Testing, isolation and close contact rules

Government Directions on testing, isolation and close contacts  

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 limit the spread of COVID-19 in WA and manage its impact.

Over the course of the pandemic, a range of different directions have been imposed to ensure people who have, or may have, COVID-19 are not moving around in the community more than necessary. These directions have been updated as circumstances have changed.

What rules are currently in place about testing, isolation and close contacts?

Current government directions include rules about when you must get tested and when you must isolate to limit the spread of the virus. They include requirements to isolate when you have tested positive for COVID-19 or when you are a 'close contact' of someone who has tested positive and you have symptoms. 

These rules are set out in detail on the WA government website under the heading COVID-19 coronavirus: What to do if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact.

Is it an offence to break these rules?

Yes, if you break the rules contained in any of the government directions imposed in response to the pandemic, police can charge you with a criminal offence.

If you are prosecuted for the offence in court and you are convicted, the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment or a fine of $50,000.

Instead of prosecuting you through court, police can issue you with a $1000 infringement

If the offence is committed by a body corporate, the maximum penalty is a $250,000 fine if dealt with in a court, or a $5,000 infringement.

Where can I find the directions about testing, isolation and close contacts?

The information on the WA government website is based on the laws contained in the COVID Transition (Testing and Isolation) Directions (No 15). These directions are located under Publications on the WA government website.

It may be important for you to access the actual directions, rather than the overview on the website, so you can check details such as the date when they came into operation or certain definitions.

If you want to check the directions because you have been charged with breaking the rules contained in them, you should consider getting advice from a lawyer to make sure you fully understand your legal position before making decisions about the charge.


Reviewed: 5 July 2022


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.