Direct contacts no longer required to quarantine if fully vaxxed

Direct contacts of those with COVID-19 will no longer be required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the virus and have no symptoms.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) updated its COVID-19 guidelines on Tuesday. According to the new guidelines, a person will be considered fully vaccinated if they have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and six months have not passed since the last dose. A booster shot is necessary to be considered fully vaccinated if six months have passed.

As per the new guidelines, fully vaccinated direct contacts will be required to undergo PCR testing if they exhibit any virus symptoms. They must stay in quarantine until test results are received. If the result comes back negative, they will not need to remain in quarantine further.

HPA said even though quarantine is no longer required, direct contacts must undergo PCR testing five days from the date of contact. Direct contacts who live in the same household as the patient will not come under this category.

Those who live with a positive patient must stay in quarantine until the patient is released from quarantine and must undergo a PCR test at the end of the quarantine period. They will be released once the test confirms they are negative for COVID-19. An additional test must be done five days later.

HPA said antigen self-test kits may be used at home by those with symptoms only. Those who test positive using the self-kits must also follow the relevant HPA guideline. Quarantine documents will be issued to such individuals only when they undergo a test at a registered testing laboratory.

The changes will come into effect on Wednesday.