Changes To Self-Isolation And Close Contact Rules Announced
The government has announced changes to rules for self-isolation in relation to COVID-19 and close contacts of individuals who test positive for the virus.
According to a statement published on gov.ie, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced the changes to Ireland's self-isolation and restriction of movement rules following a government meeting on Wednesday January 12 and advice from Chief Medical Officer Doctor Tony Holohan, and in light of the latest available evidence and international experience regarding COVID-19.
Under the new rules, for a 10 day period including seven days of self-isolation or restricted movement, all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who are close contacts of individuals who test positive for the virus are advised to limit close contact with individuals outside of their household; wear a face mask/covering in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated areas and when in close contact with other people; take an antigen test before entering crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated areas and before having close contact with anyone outside of their household; avoid contact with individuals who are at higher of severe illness due to COVID-19; work from home unless workplace attendance is essential; and follow all public health protective measures.
The above rules apply for close contacts from the date on which they were last in contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19, if that date is known. If that date is not known, the rules apply from the date of notification of being a close contact.
Close contacts of any age who have recovered from COVID-19 detected by a PCR or antigen test that has been carried out since December 1 of 2021 are not required to restrict their movements or test if they are asymptomatic. However, if they become symptomatic, they are required to self-isolate immediately, get tested and wear a mask when appropriate.
The above updated rules will come into effect from Friday January 14.
Minister For Health Statements
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly stated, "As we are all aware, the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is having a significant impact on our health service with over 1,000 people currently in hospital with COVID-19. Increased rates of infection in the community are also having a knock-on effect on other essential services. Today's announcement, which is informed by the latest guidance from the ECDC, will help to alleviate the extreme pressure on our healthcare service and other functions in society, including essential services.
"These changes will reduce the requirement for restricted movements for close contacts while enhancing other protective measures particularly mask wearing and reiterating the importance for all of us to continue to follow the public health measures."
Donnelly added, "Today saw the 10 millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine administered - a milestone we should all celebrate. These changes will also enable such individuals to attend their booster vaccine appointment, supporting increased uptake in the vaccination programme overall."
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