CECC relaxes isolation rule for close contacts of cases

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NO ‘DIGITAL FENCE’:
People who share a household with a confirmed case will be required to self-isolate for three days and monitor their health for an additional four days

Starting today, close contacts of a COVID-19 case will no longer be required to self-isolate unless they live under the same roof, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. .

The policy aims to protect the country’s public health capacity as the number of daily local COVID-19 cases has exceeded 45,000, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who runs the center, during a daily press briefing.

Close contacts who share a household or dormitory with a confirmed case will be required to isolate at home for three days, after which they will need to closely monitor their health for another four days, Chen said.

Photo: ANC

They will no longer be subject to the “digital fence system”, which uses a person’s cellphone to monitor their position, the CECC said.

The policy also removes the isolation requirement for classmates or colleagues who are seated near a confirmed case.

However, the center reiterated that these people are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

If an employee who has not received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine is identified as a close contact of a confirmed workplace case, they must self-isolate or work remotely for three days after their last contact with the infected person, Chen mentioned.

After the three-day period, the contact should take a rapid COVID-19 test every other day for the next four days, he said.

However, if the contact received a booster shot at least 14 days before their last contact with a case, they can go to work, but must observe the management of their own health for seven days after the date of their last contact, said Chen.

The digital monitoring system will remain in place for confirmed cases in home quarantine and arrivals to Taiwan staying in quarantine facilities, the CECC said.

The center also reduced the quarantine period for asymptomatic or mild cases from 10 days to seven days, effective today. They still have to undergo seven days of self-care after quarantine.

The policy covers confirmed cases quarantined at home as well as mild or asymptomatic cases in hospitals or quarantine facilities and hotels with medical support, the CECC said.

Mild or asymptomatic cases in hospitals and quarantine facilities and hotels with medical support will be allowed to end quarantine at any time if they produce two negative rapid test results, or five days after the onset of symptoms or a first positive test result if they produce a single negative rapid test result.

Chen said the changes were made because the majority of people infected with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 had mild or no symptoms.

Those with severe symptoms who have been hospitalized may be discharged from quarantine when their symptoms improve and they produce a polymerase chain reaction test result that is negative or has a cycle threshold value of at least 30, he said.

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