South Africa has NEW self-isolation guidance – here are all the changes

South Africa has NEW self-isolation guidance – here are all the changes

COVID-19’s darkest days are probably certainly behind us now. Our healthcare services were hardly affected by the advent of Omicron and its BA.2 variation, and the State of Disaster is expected to expire in March. However, according to the new self-isolation guidance, South Africa may have already taken a huge step out of lockdown.
In South Africa, there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to self-isolation.
The standards for South Africans who record a positive COVID-19 test have been modified by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
They are also advocating for an end to all quarantine directives, while asking for active contact tracing to come to a halt: Essentially, this is ‘living with COVID’ guidance.
Greater freedoms will now be granted to those testing positive for the virus, in both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases. The NICD’s latest circular explains the latest rule changes, in four separate categories:

Updated self-isolation requirements for South Africa:

New self-isolation guidance for ASYMPTOMATIC carriers

People experiencing no COVID-19 symptoms, but producing a positive test, do not need to go into self-isolation. However they should be advised to observe the following rules:

  • Wear a mask whenever interacting with people, for the next five days from the date of the test
  • Avoid social gatherings (five or more people) for five days from date of test
  • Avoid being with others socially in indoor spaces, for five days from date of test
  • Specifically avoid socially interacting with the elderly and anyone with co-morbidities for five days from the date of testing.

New self-isolation guidance for SYMPTOMATIC carriers

People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms AFTER a positive test must go into self-isolation for seven days – but there is NO requirement for them to test again once these seven days are over.

“Due to a greater appreciation of the costs associated with current practices, as well as rising vaccination rates and immunity to COVID-19 infection amongst South Africans, a substantial revision of recommendations regarding quarantine, isolation and contract tracing has been published.”
“Meanwhile, those with symptomatic infection who have mild disease (they do not require hospitalisation for COVID) should isolate for seven days from the date of start of symptoms. There is no need for testing prior to de-isolation.”

All quarantine requirements should be STOPPED

The NICD has stated that the quarantining of COVID-positive people must come to an end:

“This applies to everyone including health care workers. An exception to this is where a cluster of COVID cases (3 or more people COVID infected in a group within the same time-period) occurs in a health facility or care home.”

Active contact tracing should be STOPPED

Only people who ‘have’ COVID will be alerted, instead of people who have only been ‘exposed to’ COVID:

“Telling people they have been exposed to COVID (from someone else) will be phased out. But passive contact informing – by alerting people with COVID to inform others that they have been exposed to the coronavirus and should watch out for COVID symptoms – should continue.”

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