Testing for COVID-19

COVID-19 testing requirements for people entering from NSW/VIC/ACT

All non-essential travellers from NSW and ACT are required to have a COVID-19 test on day 1 and day 12 upon entry into SA, and must remain in self-quarantine for 14 days.

Essential travellers in categories defined as commercial transport and freight, remote and isolated workers or cross border community members and approved to enter by SA must obtain a test as soon as practicable within seven days of entering SA, but can still travel across the border into SA once within this period. They must produce evidence of having a COVID-19 test, or a COVID-19 test result, that is not more than seven days old, upon request from an Authorised Officer (e.g. SA Police Officer). Self-quarantine restrictions may still apply.

All other Essential Travellers (other than those mentioned above or passing through) are required to partake in the mandatory COVID-19 testing on day 1 and 12 of entry into SA.

For more information visit the cross-border travel page.

You can use the referral form you received at the border to attend a drive-through testing clinic.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate while waiting for test results.


Who can get tested

People who have any of the symptoms below, even if symptoms are very mild, should get tested for COVID-19:

  • fever OR chills (with no alternative illness that explains these symptoms)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste and smell.

Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain.

Where to get tested

There are many options to get tested for COVID-19 in South Australia. Some require a booking and others are walk-in. Some require a referral and some do not. If you are unsure what to do, call SA COVID Information Line on 1800 253 787.

See below a range of options to get tested:

General Practitioner (GP)

Contact your GP about getting tested for COVID-19. If you qualify for a test your GP may test you in their clinic, they may come outside to take a swab test while you remain in your car, or they may provide you with a referral to attend a drive-through testing clinic.

Drive through testing

You will need a referral from your GP to attend a drive-through testing clinic. People arriving from NSW, ACT and Victoria will be provided with two referral forms to undertake their mandatory tests. If you have a referral, you can book with SA Pathology, Clinpath or Australian Clinical Labs directly.

COVID-19 clinics

People with COVID-19 symptoms can visit a dedicated COVID-19 clinic or SA Pathology mobile testing clinic to be assessed and tested. You do not need a referral or an appointment.

Respiratory clinics

Respiratory Clinics are available for anyone with mild to moderate respiratory conditions.  They do not test people without symptoms (e.g. people arrived from interstate with no symptoms who are required to get tested). Clinics are Commonwealth funded and supported by Adelaide PHN and Country SA PHN. Covered by Medicare, all ages and convenient. Bookings are essential.

Home-based testing

SA Pathology offers a dedicated metropolitan service to take COVID-19 tests within a persons’ home. Some regional home-based testing services are also available.

Rapid testing in hospitals

Rapid testing (60 minutes) is only available in emergency situations. This type of test is not currently available within COVID-19 clinics.

What to do after your test

After your test, go straight home and self-isolate while you wait for your test result (which you should usually get within 2 days) and:

  • stay at home and do not attend work, school or childcare
  • wash your hands often with soap and water
  • cough and sneeze into a clean tissue or your elbow
  • avoid close contact with others, including members of your household.

If you have a negative test result

It is important that you follow medical advice.

If you receive a negative test result, you should still stay at home and not attend work, school or childcare until you are feeling well again.

Certain people considered to be at higher-risk (PDF 52KB) such as people who have returned from travel or been in close contact with a confirmed case will need to remain in self-isolation even if they return a negative test result.

If you have a positive test result

If you have received a positive result for COVID-19, visit the Information about a positive result for COVID-19 page for information about what to do.

Cost of COVID-19 tests

There is no cost to Medicare eligible patients for COVID-19 testing if you are tested at ***SA Health or PHN facilities.

Private providers may charge a gap for COVID-19 testing.

Overseas residents who fall ill in Australia (and are not eligible for Medicare) often have health or travel insurance. For those who do not have adequate insurance coverage, SA Health hospitals and COVID-19 testing centres will waive the costs of diagnosis (tests) and treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information and support