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Japan shortens quarantine for essential workers to 5 days

Essential workers, such as medical personnel, are now allowed to go to work if they test negative for the virus on the fourth and fifth day of quarantine and if permitted by municipalities. (Shutterstock)
Essential workers, such as medical personnel, are now allowed to go to work if they test negative for the virus on the fourth and fifth day of quarantine and if permitted by municipalities. (Shutterstock)
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29 Jan 2022 03:01:21 GMT9
29 Jan 2022 03:01:21 GMT9

TOKYO: The Japanese health ministry said Friday that it has shortened the minimum quarantine period for essential workers who had close contact with people infected with the novel coronavirus to five days from six days.

Essential workers, such as medical personnel, are now allowed to go to work if they test negative for the virus on the fourth and fifth day of quarantine and if permitted by municipalities.

The decision comes as a surge in the number of close contacts amid the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant in Japan has made it difficult to maintain societal functions in some areas.

The quarantine period for close contacts other than essential workers was shortened to seven days from 10 days. But they are asked to monitor health conditions by themselves for 10 days.

A report from Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases showed that some 1 pct of omicron patients developed symptoms 10 days or more after coming in contact with the virus and some 5 pct did so after seven days or more.

Shortening the quarantine period comes with a risk, but an infection risk of up to 5 pct is tolerable, given the importance of maintaining societal functions, health minister Shigeyuki Goto said.

Even with seven days of quarantine, the level of the risk can be lowered to that of the risk of 14-day quarantine by combining 10-day health checks and testing, an experts’ group has said.

JIJI Press

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