What is the ideal isolation time period for COVID-19 patients?

Published On: December 20, 2020 09:00 AM NPT By: Kunga Hyolmo

What the trend is in Nepal and other countries.

KATHMANDU, Dec 20: Recently, the government of Nepal has reduced the time for a COVID-19 patient to be in quarantine and isolation center from 14 to 10 days. After this decision from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the questions on the ideal isolation time period for a COVID-19 patient is no new in the market.

Stating that the virus doesn’t transmit from an infected person to another after 10 days of the infection, the Health Ministry has reduced the isolation time period to 10 from 14 days.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), symptomatic patients have to stay in isolation for 10 days after symptoms are seen and at least 3 additional days without symptoms (including without fever and without respiratory symptoms) and for asymptomatic cases the time period is 10 days after one is tested positive for the COVID-19.

According to Dr Bidan Nidhi, Head of COVID-19 Department at Bir Hospital, the coronavirus can remain active in a body of an infected person for 14 to 21 days so it is essential to keep a symptomatic patient in isolation for at least 21 days and asymptomatic patient for at least 14 days.

“In Nepal, it is common that a person goes for PCR test only after 4/5 days of contracting the virus. The time taken to acquire the test result is also comparatively high. Due to which an infected person goes for isolation only after 5/7 days of contracting with the virus. In this sense, the government might have reduced the isolation period for a COVID-19 patient,” said Dr Nidi.

WHO also suggests use of testing as part of the release criteria. It recommends two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours before leaving isolation centers.

In the United States of America, persons with COVID-19 illness are recommended to stay in isolation at least for 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms and for persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test.

Likewise, one has to stay in isolation for 10 days from when s/he shows symptoms and isolate for 10 days from when s/he has the test not with symptoms in the United Kingdom.

According to the latest data from MoHP, there are currently 5,364 COVID-19 patients in home isolation, 279 in Intensive Care Units and 51 on ventilators as of Saturday.

As many as 253,184 people have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 in Nepal so far with the death rate of 0.70 percent and recovery rate of 95.8 percent.

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