An updated pandemic management guide issued by the Health Ministry Tuesday will likely give a boost to businesses. Under the new rules, people who came into possible contact with a COVID-19 patient will be spared from mandatory quarantine if they already had at least two doses of a vaccine or have recovered from the disease within the past six months.
Contacts of the infected will not be registered in their Life Fits Into Home (HES) code, a unique number given to each citizen to record their health status. Thus, their movement will not be restricted as is the case for COVID-19 patients. But the Health Ministry will still register them as “contacts” in a separate database used by health care professionals. They will also be advised to follow the usual pandemic rules from mandatory masks to hygiene and social distancing and monitor their symptoms. With or without symptoms, they will be required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and they will be deemed “risky” if they skip the test and will be mandated to quarantine.
The ministry also set the quarantine period for people infected with variants of concern designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as 14 days. People infected with the beta, gamma and delta variants will be subject to this quarantine period that will end without any requirement for a second PCR test at the end of the 14th day.
The update is the same by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which says fully vaccinated people with no symptoms do not need quarantine.
Business circles have been calling on the authorities to update the quarantine period in line with international standards, citing disruption to commercial activities due to quarantine measures. Earlier, the Health Ministry had decreased the quarantine period to 10 days for people in contact with the infected.