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Coronavirus: ministry clarifies issues relating to close contacts

ÅÑÃÁÓÔÇÑÉÁ ÂÉÏËÏÃÉÊÙÍ ÅÐÉÓÔÇÌÙÍ ÐÁÍ. ÊÕÐÑÏÕ ÔÅ×ÍÉÊh ÃÉÁ ÔÏ Sars2 ËÅÏÍÔÉÏÓ ÊÙÓÔÑÉÊÇÓ

Close contacts are those who spent more than 15 minutes less than two metres distance from people with coronavirus, or who had come in direct contact with infected respiratory secretions without the use of personal protective equipment, the health ministry explained on Friday.

After changes to the tracing procedure by authorities, the health ministry issued a new guide on how people who test positive and their contacts ought to address the situation.

People who test positive will be notified by the tracing team within 24 hours from the time it receives the test results from the labs, through an SMS and by phone.

The health ministry points out that it accepts results only from labs that carry out the PCR test method and have completed the process of verifying the diagnostic methodology that detects the genetic material of the virus (RT-RCR).

It therefore urges members of the public to choose one of those labs if they wish to gest tests for coronavirus.

People who test positive to the virus, must electronically send the tracing team a list with their close contacts, so that all contacts are investigated and are forwarded to the public health clinics for tests. People who have been described as close contacts receive a text message on their mobile phones with instructions for self-isolation.

“Self-isolation means complete isolation at home for a period of 14 days from the date of contact with the positive case,” the ministry said.

Close contacts are those who spent more than 15 minutes in less than two metres distance with people with coronavirus, or who had come in direct contact with infected respiratory secretions without the use of personal protective equipment.

After 14 days from the day of contact with the coronavirus case, close contacts are automatically released without the need for Covid-19 test unless they develop symptoms during this period. If they do develop symptoms, they should contact their family physicians (GPs) stating that they are close contacts of a coronavirus case.

As regards people who test positive and are in self-isolation, they will be contacted after the 14th day for a second test. They are free to stop the self-isolation if they test negative twice between days 14 and 21 since the date they were found positive.

Individuals who have been recorded as positive cases, regardless of whether they have obtained two negative tests before the 14th day, are required to remain in self-isolation until the 14 days are fully up, the ministry said. The same applies to their close contacts.

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