The EU’s infections agency is recommending patients with mild COVID-19 cases to end their quarantines as early as four days after the symptoms or positive testing are registered.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) presented a series of updates in its latest technical report a series of updates on the ending of quarantine.
Factoring in vaccination uptake as well as the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the agency outlines how fully jabbed patients who test positive for COVID may exit quarantine as early as four days after experiencing symptoms or testing positive.
Currently, Malta’s quarantine rules state that those who are infected must isolate for 10 days if fully vaccinated. The ECDC now states that those with no symptoms can take a first test three days after the first positive test.
If this results negative and they do not develop any symptoms, they can retest after 24 hours, being able to exit quarantine if this second test also comes out negative.
If there are symptoms, the ECDC recommends that the positive patient must not have a fever for 24 hours and symptoms show improvement before allowed to test.
In this case, a minimum of three days must pass before any testing is carried out just as with the asymptomatic patients. The ECDC also recommends infected patients exit quarantine after one negative result carried out six days after the onset of symptoms in cases where testing capabilities are limited.
In Malta however, self-testing kits are still illegal. Those who end quarantine as outlined in the latest report must also wear a mask until what would have been the tenth day of quarantine.
People who have severe cases of the virus or are considered immunocompromised are also eligible for such rules, although in cases where two negative tests are not obtained, quarantine is extended. For severe cases, it goes up to 14 to 20 days while for the immunocompromised it goes up to 20 days.
For the unvaccinated, quarantine may also be ended after two consecutive negative results from tests carried out 24 hours apart from the third day onwards as long as symptoms have died down. Those who opt not to carry out any testing after the first positive result, a quarantine of 10 days must be adhered to.