Advisors suggest end to quarantine of asymptomatic Covid-19 contacts

A recommendation by the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 for the health minister to discontinue quarantine of high risk contacts and contact tracing measures meant to contain the spread of the virus, is one of a number of advisories that the health department is yet to decide on.

Although the department says it is currently unable to comment on the matter, its spokesperson Foster Mohale told the Mail & Guardian that the leaked document was one of a number of recommendations to be discussed by the national coronavirus command council.

According to the MAC, the 14-day quarantine period for “high-risk contacts” of Covid-19 patients, which was later reduced to 10 days, is not an effective measure for containing the spread of the virus. This is because only a very small proportion of contacts are being identified from a small proportion of Covid-19 cases.

It says the definition of “high-risk contacts” is also based on an outdated understanding of the transmission of Covid-19, which focuses on droplet spread. It ignores aerosol spread, which can occur over distances greater than one to 1.5 metres.

The committee says quarantining is also not feasible in many social settings and  increases the burden on the economy, where institutions have to work with reduced staff components. Prolonged quarantining has also led to loss of income, employment and schooling.

If approved, vaccinated and unvaccinated contacts will no longer be required to quarantine and no testing will be required, irrespective of the level of exposure, unless the contacts become symptomatic.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Marcia Zali
Marcia Zali is an award winning journalist

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Harbour views at 9th Avenue Waterside

The award-winning eatery, which offers fine wines and food, is on stilts at Durban’s harbour

Zimbabwe hospital workers plot stillbirth burials

The policy is to cremate deceased infants but Bulawayo Hospital’s incinerators are not working

Salman Rushdie on ventilator, likely to lose an eye after...

The British author of "The Satanic Verses" had to be airlifted to hospital for emergency surgery following the attack

Can technology help to promote students’ mental health?

New apps and online therapy show promise, but more research is needed to help understand who will benefit from digital interventions

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…