After COVID-19 – what to expect

Within 4 weeks of ending isolation

If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are exposed to a COVID-19 case within 4 weeks of completing isolation, you will not be considered a close contact.

There is a small risk of reinfection within this 4-week period. The probability depends on whether the person’s immune response is compromised, for example by medications for other conditions. Other factors include the person’s vaccination history, degree of exposure to virus in the community and how much that virus differs from the strain that caused the previous infection.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should stay at home when sick.

People who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease who develop new symptoms within 28 days of release from isolation should contact their health care provider for advice.

More than 4 weeks after ending isolation

If you experience new COVID-19 symptoms more than 4 weeks after your recovery from COVID-19, get tested with a rapid antigen test (RAT) or PCR test.

If you test negative to COVID-19, stay at home until your symptoms resolve. Your healthcare provider may test you for other respiratory viruses, such as influenza, during this time.

If you test positive to COVID-19, follow the isolation protocols for a case (isolate for at least 7 days).

If you become a close contact of a COVID-19 case, follow the close contact isolation protocols

Look after your health

Stay up to date with your vaccinations

Vaccination reduces the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and helps reduce the rate of transmission between people.

Even if you have had COVID-19 and recovered, you should get vaccinated with your next COVID-19 vaccination whether it is your first, second, third, booster or winter booster dose. It is recommended that your next dose is deferred until 3 months after your COVID-19 infection to optimise your protection.

People are strongly advised to get the influenza vaccine in readiness for the influenza season. It is best to wait until you have fully recovered from COVID-19 before getting the influenza vaccine.

Schedule a check-up

If you missed medical or health appointments while you were in isolation with COVID-19, arrange an appointment to have a check-up with your GP.

COVID-19 recovery – what to expect

Most people with COVID-19 will recover completely within a few weeks. However, some may continue to experience symptoms for weeks or months after their diagnosis. This is called ‘long COVID’, or ‘post COVID-19 condition’.

Long COVID or post COVID-19 condition

Most cases of long COVID resolve but it is a condition that in rare cases can lead to long term health problems.

A person is usually considered to have long COVID if their symptoms have persisted for longer than two months after their initial infection. Most symptoms progressively resolve, and it is uncommon for symptoms to persist for more than a year.

Common long COVID symptoms include:

  • extreme fatigue (tiredness)
  • shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
  • ‘brain fog’ or problems with memory and concentration
  • changes to taste and smell
  • joint and muscle pain

If you continue to experience symptoms, make an appointment with your GP. Your GP may request tests to determine if your symptoms are caused by long COVID or another health condition.

Your GP can also provide advice regarding the best way to manage your symptoms.

The best ways to avoid long COVID are through vaccination and following public health measures.

Several groups are developing collaborative research projects into the effects of long COVID. These include the Australian National Phenome Centre at Murdoch University and Fiona Stanley Hospital, the Department of Health, Curtin University and PathWest.

More information


Last reviewed: 03-08-2022
Coronavirus information helplines: 13 COVID (13 268 43). Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.