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Omicron variant: As India tightens Covid restrictions, US goes ahead and eases them

The US Centres for Disease Control has revised the Covid-19 protocol which shortens the isolation time from 10 days to five days if asymptomatic followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others. 

Omicron variant: As India tightens Covid restrictions, US goes ahead and eases them
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Washington D.C., First Published Dec 28, 2021, 10:14 AM IST

The US Centres for Disease Control has revised the Covid-19 protocol which shortens the isolation time from 10 days to five days if asymptomatic followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others. The CDC reasoned that science had shown that most of the SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurred early in the course of the illness or in one to two days before the symptoms appear and two to three days after the symptoms show up. Thus, the CDC says, individuals who test positive must go into isolation for five days and if asymptomatic at the time they may exit isolation if they continue to wear masks in public for five days to minimize chances of infecting others.

The CDC also updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to Covid-19. CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days for people who are unvaccinated or are over six months out from their second mRNA dose and not yet boosted. Alternatively, an exposed person has to wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible. 

Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those who have been exposed to the virus, best practice would also include a Covid-19 test at day five after exposure. If symptoms show up, individuals must immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to Covid-19.

The latest decision by the CDC comes at a time when vaccination numbers in the United States are very low and the mask mandates are not extended across the country. Critics have claimed that the CDC may have jumped the gun when it comes to reducing the isolation time. At the same time, India has taken a stricter stand when it comes to tackling the pandemic.

Also Read: Omicron Variant: Centre warns states, says observe strict protocols

Also Read: Health Ministry issues guidelines for COVID vaccination of children 15-18 years, 60+ with comorbidities

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