UAE clarifies quarantine rules for Covid-19 patients

National Emergency Crisis and Management Authority sets out guidelines for those with Covid-19 and close contacts

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Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients will be released from quarantine automatically after 10 days, according to the federal crisis authority.

Anyone who tests positive for the virus, but remains symptom-free, will automatically be discharged after that period, according to the National Emergency Crisis and Management Authority (Ncema).

Those with mild to moderate symptoms may be discharged from quarantine in one of two ways, the authority said in the guidance, released on social media.

People with mild symptoms are often allowed to self isolate at home, while more severe cases may require treatment at a medical facility.

In the first scenario, symptomatic Covid-19 patients can be released 10 days after their symptoms first appeared; at least 24 to 48 hours have passed since their fever has subsided, without the use of medication; and as long as they experience an improvement in respiratory symptoms – such as a cough or  shortness of breath.

In the second scenario, their fever must have resolved without the use of medication; there must also be an improvement in their respiratory symptoms; and they must have tested negative for the virus twice, with specimens collected 24 hours or more apart.

Release from quarantine is different again for those who are admitted to hospital as a result of severe to critical illness, or for people with a weakened immune system.

In either of those cases, at least 10 days and up to 20 days must have passed since the date of their symptom onset, and they have to receive two consecutive negative PCR results taken 24 hours apart or more.

At least 24 to 48 hours must also have passed since their fever passed, without the use of medication.

The patient must also have improved and be experiencing minimal symptoms.

The rules are applicable to all emirates except Dubai, which has its own crisis authority that sets its regulations.

In Dubai, people with mild cases of Covid-19 must isolate at home for 10 days. If a patient develops stronger symptoms, they must contact the Dubai Health Authority (800 342) for advice.

Anyone who tests positive in Dubai can end their self isolation after 10 days if they are asymptomatic or have only mild signs of Covid-19; they have experienced an improvement in their symptoms; and their fever has subsided – without medication – for at least three days.

In Dubai, close contacts are defined as anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes with a confirmed Covid-19 case without maintaining social distancing.

In the rest of the Emirates, close contact is defined as being a contact of anyone who has tested positive in the two days leading up to the diagnosis, or up to 14 days after.

They must have been within two metres of that person for more than 15 minutes; be a "direct physical contact", live in the same household or provide care for them without using PPE.

Ncema has said anyone who is defined as a close contact, including those who have been vaccinated, should self-monitor for any respiratory symptoms for 14 days, even if their result is negative.

If they develop any related symptoms they should be tested for Covid-19.