The South African Government announced that they reassessed the recommended isolation period for positive Covid-19 patients and have reduced it from 14 to 10 days.
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, says the reassessment was possible after evidence from patients with mild cases showed that the virus continues to shed from their upper airways for approximately 7 to 12 days.
“The duration of infectiousness in patients with severe disease is less well established. In general, patients with severe disease may continue to shed the virus at higher levels for longer periods than patients with mild disease,” the Minister said.
Patients with severe infections are recommended to come out of isolation 10 days after clinical stability is achieved as opposed to 10 days after they display symptoms.
“To illustrate this in simple terms, if a patient was admitted and placed on oxygen, we advise that when the oxygen supplementation is discontinued, the patient must remain in isolation for another 10 days. This continued isolation provides clinical comfort that the patient is no longer infectious,” Dr Mkhize explains.
The Minister says that this guideline was proposed by the World Health Organisation and that the National Coronavirus Command Council decided to adopt it.