Ministry revises protocols

January 4, 2022 6:55 am

The Ministry of Health also revised its quarantine and isolation requirements.

The changes have been made based on the scientific evidence while taking into account the need to prevent severe disruption to essential services.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this will likely arise should a large number of workers require isolation or quarantine.

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A healthcare worker who returns a positive test result will be required to self-isolate at home for seven days, become asymptomatic and return a negative RDT test on the 6th and 7th day before resuming work

Doctor Fong says they will be required to maintain strict masking for the remainder of three days to complete the 10-day isolation requirement before they are fully discharged from isolation.

In the unusual circumstances where the healthcare worker’s absence will severely debilitate the health service, processes will be put in place to ensure a safe corridor of movement and work is created for asymptomatic healthcare workers while maintaining the full isolation requirements.

For the general public, an isolation period of 10 days for confirmed cases remains in place, with the case able to leave isolation without repeat testing once 10 days have passed since the start of symptoms (with at least 3 consecutive days of no symptoms) or the positive test (for asymptomatic cases).

Doctor Fong says healthcare officials who work in a low disease prevalence area and come into close contact with a confirmed case will be required to self-quarantine at home for 10 days with daily symptom checking and strict COVID safety measures before they are allowed to return to work.

However, if the healthcare worker is working in a high disease prevalence area where essential health services are at risk of being severely debilitated, the healthcare worker will be required to return to duty at their respective health facility with strict adherence to COVID safety measures and have daily rapid antigen testing before the start of the shift.

They are to immediately stand down from duties and isolate themselves if they develop symptoms or return a positive test.