Lifestyle

IATF OKs quarantine and isolation policy shift for COVID-19 patients, contacts

IATF OKs quarantine and isolation policy shift for COVID-19 patients, contacts

The government’s pandemic task force has approved the policy shift in the quarantine and isolation of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and their close contacts, Malacañang announced.

Home quarantine and isolation guidelines for COVID-19 patients and close contacts. (DOH)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement as the country escalated many areas to higher Alert Level classifications due to the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.

In his press briefing on Friday, January 7, Nograles said hospitals are now allowed to shorten the quarantine of fully vaccinated healthcare workers to just five days. They are likewise allowed to implement shortened isolation protocols for fully vaccinated healthcare workers during extreme circumstances.

In addition, the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is now also allowing the home isolation of COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or show mild or moderate symptoms.

The home quarantine for close contacts of suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 cases is now also allowed but is subject to more specific protocols.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), home quarantine and isolation will be allowed if the patient has their own room and toilet and they will be supervised by the local government unit (LGU) concerned.

“Ensure you don’t transmit to others by having your own toilet with proper ventilation, implementing disinfection and appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), and supervised by the LGU or health care provider for progression of symptoms,” the DOH said.

It reiterated that COVID-19 patients who are symptomatic but do not have their own room and toilet and LGU oversight should undergo a facility-based quarantine.

All household members are exposed and considered close contacts. They can do home quarantine if:

  • They show no symptoms
  • They are not vulnerable (seniors or with comorbidities)
  • They are not mixed with positive and symptomatic individuals
  • They observe minimum public health standards (mask, distance, disinfection, ventilation)