Dubai: Earlier this month, the Dubai Health Authority made an announcement reducing the quarantine period for some COVID-19 positive cases as well as for some people who came in close contact with those who have tested positive for the virus.
The quarantine period was reduced from 14 days to 10 days for the following cases:
• COVID-19 patients who did not develop any symptoms since testing positive.
• Patients with mild cases of COVID-19 who have fully recovered from their symptoms - without the use of fever-reducing medications.
• Individuals who have come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case but did not develop any symptoms. The 10-day quarantine period starts from the day they were exposed to the confirmed case.
But why was the quarantine period reduced? And what should you do if you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive case? This is all you need to know.
Who is a ‘close contact’?
A close contact is any individual who spent time with a confirmed COVID-19 case, whether it was two days before their symptoms appeared or since the person received their positive result or any time during the 10 days of infection.
The 10-day quarantine period begins from the date of the last contact with the infected person after he/she tests positive for COVID-19 if you met him/her for more than 15 minutes and if the physical distance maintained was less than two metres.
For example, if you had dinner with a friend on September 1 and on September 3, you were informed that your friend has tested positive for COVID-19, your quarantine period will begin from September (date of last contact) until the September 10.
What does a person who has been in close contact do?
1. The close contact needs to directly quarantine in a separate room for 10 days and follow precautionary measures to ensure the safety of others.
2. DHA will contact and inform the close contact of the necessary procedures OR the close contact can call DHA on the toll-free number 800 342.
3. The quarantine period is 10 days and there is no need to undergo a PCR test if there are no symptoms.
4. If ANY symptoms appear during the quarantine period, call 800 342 to book a PCR test appointment.
5. If the test result is positive, you will be contacted for isolation procedures. If the test result is negative, you must complete the 10-day quarantine period.
Close contacts can obtain an “End of Quarantine Certificate” by calling 800 342 or through the COVID-19 DXB App.
I was in close contact but wasn’t listed by the person. What can I do?
You should call the DHA toll-free number 800 342. This procedure is necessary to register you as a close contact and to issue an end of Quarantine Certificate in order to be able to return to work or to go back to your school or university.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
• Fever equal to or higher than 37.5˚C
• Pain in the body
• Shortness and difficulty in breathing
• Sore throat
• Runny nose
• Loss of the sense of smell and taste
Asymptomatic cases – It is important to remember that a person can be infected with COVID-19 but have no symptoms.
Why has the quarantine period been set to 10 days and why should I complete it?
The quarantine period has been set to 10 days as that is the incubation period of the virus. Even if symptoms do not appear, even if you are in good health, you must complete the 10-day quarantine period because you may be carrying the virus and you can infect others during this period.
Does being quarantined mean I have the COVID-19 virus?
Being in quarantine does not mean that you you are infected with the COVID-19 virus. However, quarantine is a mandatory precautionary measure to ensure that the infection is not transmitted to others.
What are the types of quarantine?
It takes place at the person’s residence, after making sure that the conditions for home quarantine are met.
It is a quarantine-dedicated facility for close contacts who cannot meet the conditions of home quarantine.
During their stay at the facility, close contacts will receive all the care and monitoring needed while they quarantine.
Is quarantine/institutional isolation free?
If the close contact prefers institutional quarantine instead of home quarantine or if the close contact cannot meet the requirements of home quarantine, then he/she can opt for institutional quarantine and he/she will have to bear the costs incurred during his/her stay in the quarantine facility.
What are the conditions and requirements of home quarantine?
Conditions and requirements of home quarantine include:
• Availability of a separate room with a private bathroom.
• The close contact should be in a stable health condition.
• Availability of means of communication such as an active phone number.
• Availability of a first-aid kit that includes a thermometer.
• Awareness and commitment to quarantine procedures related to personal care and waste management.
• No high-risk individuals are sharing the household.