|  Coronavirus testing


As the SARS-CoV-2  outbreak (previously known as  2019-nCoV) progresses and the capacity to test has increased, the restrictions on who should be tested have changed over time.


Testing is recommended for those patients who fulfil the case definition for investigation for COVID-19 infection.

Current case definition 

Test for SARS-CoV-2 in patients who have: 

  • Travelled to (including transit through) mainland China in the 14 days before the onset of illness. 
  • Have had contact in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19*


  • Presented with fever OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath or cough). 

Also consider SARS-CoV-2 testing for patients who have travelled to Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, or Indonesia in the 14 days before the onset of symptoms. 

Clinical judgement should be used to determine the need for testing in patients who do not meet the epidemiological or clinical criteria above.

Public health approval is no longer required to request testing.

The testing of asymptomatic individuals regardless of travel is not recommended.
However high-risk patients meeting the case definition should be notified to the relevant public health unit by the clinician.

Specimen collection

The preferred specimens include combined nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal flocked swab.

If a sputum sample is available, this should also be submitted.

All samples will undergo normal respiratory virus testing in addition to coronavirus.

In high-risk patients, a serum sample may also be collected for future antibody testing.

As of 30 January 2020, “COVID-19”, the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2, is a notifiable condition in Queensland.

Dedicated collection centres

SNP offers collection of these samples at a large number of dedicated collection centres, by trained staff, who can safely collect these samples.

Click here for dedicated SNP collection centres

Confirmed case: A person who tests positive to a specific COVID-19 PCR test (when available) or has the virus identified by electron microscopy or viral culture, at a reference laboratory.

Last information content update 1:35pm 18 February 2020