The Health Ministry announced that it will shorten the isolation and quarantine period, including for people infected with COVID-19. Shortening the quarantine time is happening across Europe. Countries that have already decided to do so or will do so soon include Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
“We take into account the indications of experts saying that the period between infection and the first symptoms, the incubation period of the virus, is very short, so in the term, the period in which we infect and get sick is shorter. That is why we plan to shorten the period of quarantine and isolation, which, among other things, will speed up the return of medics to work,” the Health Ministry spokesman, Wojciech Andrusiewicz, said on Tuesday.
Currently in Poland, after detection of COVID-19, a 10-day isolation is imposed, and a vaccinated person living with an infected person can be released from quarantine after a negative test result.
Experts at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control believe that, paradoxically, the more infections there are, the shorter the isolation and quarantine should be. They suggest that instead of quarantine for the vaccinated, mandatory FFP2 masks should be introduced after contact with a sick person.
Quarantine rules in Europe
This example has already been followed by some countries in Europe, not wanting to lock large parts of the population indoors, which would be another burden on the economy in the fifth wave of the outbreak.
The United Kingdom
In mid-January, the British government announced that the quarantine period for COVID-19 sufferers in England would be shortened to five full days from January 17. However, to leave isolation, two tests will have to be done: on the fifth and sixth days.
The change is also expected to reduce problems for the English economy. Omicron’s high infectivity forces many quarantines and translates into a labor shortage.
The rules have changed several times in recent weeks in Italy. Quarantine is no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals or recovering patients who have had the disease within the past four months (120 days).
Instead, these individuals will be required to wear an FFP2 mask, which provides better protection, for 10 days at all times while in public places and, if symptoms develop, to test within five days of contact with a positive person.
Earlier this year, Belgium lifted the requirement for fully vaccinated people to be isolated after contact with someone infected with COVID-19 - a rule that applies to people after three doses of vaccination or recovering from two doses.
On January 13, the Bundesrat (the second house of the parliament, representing the local authorities) unanimously approved new sanitation rules, reducing, among other things, the quarantine period from ten to seven days. The revised rules are also meant to address staff shortages in German hospitals.
According to the regulation, the quarantine can be terminated after the seventh day based on a negative PCR test. Triple-vaccinated people are not quarantined at all.
French authorities have also announced a move to a five-day quarantine. Until now, people who tested positive in France had to be isolated for 10 days, and their loved ones were also quarantined for a week.
Now, fully vaccinated people who test positive will have to stay in isolation for seven days, regardless of the variant of coronavirus
they are infected with, but will be allowed to leave quarantine after five days if they receive a negative PCR test.
In Sweden, there are no official decisions so far, although experts are calling for asymptomatic people, and those in certain socially important professions, to be released from isolation or for the quarantine period to be reduced from seven to five days.
As of Thursday morning, as many as 339,676,201 coronavirus cases, 5,584,472 deaths, and 273,253,819 recoveries have been confirmed worldwide.
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