Dubai: As of Friday, March 25, 2022, close contacts of COVID-19 cases are required to conduct two PCR tests whether symptoms appear or not, according to the latest guidelines issued by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).
Previously people had to take a PCR test for five consecutive days.
The updated COVID-19 protocol for close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases was announced by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) on March 25. Last month, NCEMA had also removed the requirement for close contacts to undergo quarantine.
So, if you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive case, or have tested positive yourself, here is a roundup of all the updated protocols you are required to follow.
Rules for close contacts
According to the rules announced by NCEMA, if you have been a close contact of a COVID-19 case, you need to:
• Undergo a PCR test on Day 1 and Day 7, with Day 1 being the day you were in contact with the person who tests positive for COVID-19.
• There is no quarantine for close contacts.
Rules for positive COVID-19 cases
If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be required to follow the guidelines issued by your Emirate's health authority. Here is a breakdown of the announcements that have been made for rules you need to follow after testing positive for COVID-19:
The guidelines for positive COVID-19 cases, as per Dubai Health Authority (DHA) are:
1. Isolate yourself immediately in a separate room after getting your positive PCR result, and immediately inform your direct manager and HR department, if working.
2. Install the COVID-19 DXB App and follow the required steps.
3. If you do not have any symptoms, you still have to complete the 10-day home or institutional isolation. You don't have to undergo another PCR test once the isolation period is complete.
4. If you begin to develop any symptoms, you can call the DHA toll-free number on 800 342 to book a virtual medical consultation through the “Doctor for Every Citizen” service or book an appointment at a COVID-19 assessment centre.
5. Upon completing the isolation period, you will get a clearance certificate via SMS.
6. If you cannot meet the conditions for home isolation, you can contact the DHA hotline on 800 342 to request for a transfer to an institutional isolation facility.
When does the isolation period end?
• After completing 10 days from the date of taking the PCR test.
• When the symptoms, if any, subside.
• The patient has no symptoms or fever by the 10th day, (without fever reducing medication) for a minimum of three consecutive days.
On February 25, Abu Dhabi’s Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee announced that the wristband requirement for home quarantine has been removed.
According to the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC), if you test positive, these are the steps you must follow:
1. High-risk categories
Those who are 50 years old and above, have symptoms, have a chronic disease or are women who are pregnant have been asked to visit one of the designated COVID-19 Prime Assessment Centres for medical assessment and isolation measures.
To end isolation you must:
1. Get two negative results 24 hours apart
2. Or conduct a PCR test on Day 8 and Day 10 and complete 10 days in isolation with no symptoms in the last three days of isolation, after medical evaluation.
2. Other categories
Those with mild or medium symptoms and no chronic disease have been asked to follow these steps:
1. Retest in any health facility in the Emirate and continue to isolate.
2. If your PCR test result is negative, wait for 24 hours and do a retest. If your second PCR test result is negative, ADPHC advises people to resume normal activities and continue to follow precautionary measures.
3. If your PCR test result is positive, a specialist will contact you to complete the isolation procedures.
List of COVID-19 assessment centres:
Prime assessment centres for medical assessment and isolation measures for high-risk categories:
• Mafraq Hospital
• Al Mushrif Wedding Hall
• Madinat Mohamed Bin Zayed Centre - for labourers
• Al Ain Convention Center
• Madinat Zayed Centre
• Al Dhafra Hospitals Prime Assessment Centre
Medical Centres for other categories:
• Medeor Hospital
• Burjeel Medical City
• LLH Hospital - Mussafah
• For labourers: Life Care Hospital - Mussafah, Baniyas or Madinat Mohamed Bin Zayed Centre
• Burjeel Royal Hospital
Where to get a Dh40 PCR test in Abu Dhabi
Since March 1, PCR tests at medical facilities in Abu Dhabi now cost Dh40. The decision to reduce the cost of PCR tests in the Emirate was announced by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) on February 28. To find the closest PCR testing facility near you in Abu Dhabi, read here.
Positive COVID-19 case procedure for other Emirates
Infected COVID-19 cases in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain or Fujairah need to follow these steps, according to the Emirates Health Services (EHS):
1. The isolation period for the individual can be completed at home or at a designated facility. An individual with severe symptoms would need to be isolated at a hospital, so as to be provided with the necessary care.
2. The period of isolation is for 10 days. You need to ensure that there are no symptoms for the last three days of isolation.