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DOH: Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients no longer infectious after 10 days

FILE PHOTO: A nurse gets a swab from a man under observation for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a booth set up in a hospital parking lot in Manila, Philippines, April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The Department of Health (DOH) has released new guidelines allowing the discharge of COVID-19 patients without symptoms after at least 10 days, citing studies, and articles showing evidence that they are no longer infectious after that period.

“Lumabas na ang articles and evidence na sinasabing ang pasiyenteng na-confirm na positive, pagdating ng ika-sampung araw from the onset of symptoms, or diagnosis, they are already non-infectious,” Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Friday during a virtual press briefing.

According to the new set of criteria by the World Health Organization (WHO), patients may be released 10 days after they first showed symptoms “plus at least three additional days without symptoms.”

Vergeire further explained that the results of RT-PCR tests cannot determine if a person is infectious or not.

“Hindi naman sasabihin ng RT-PCR sa’yo kung ang tao’y nakakapanghawa pa o hindi na. Ang sasabihin lang ng RT-PCR, nade-detect ko pa tung virus sa loob ng katawan mo,” Vergeire stated.

“As long as the patient does not exhibit symptoms at all, 3 days na, and naka-reach na rin sya ng 10th day nya nung sakit nya, maaari na syang i-clear ng kanyang physician na pwede na syang umuw,” she added.

Through this, DOH is also looking into shortening the duration of an additional 14-day quarantine period to half.

At present, it usually takes a month before a COVID-19 patient could be removed from the list of active cases since another 2-week quarantine is required after his first 14 days in a hospital or quarantine facility.

As of Friday, the Philippines has logged a total of 34,073 infections. Of the number, 9,182 have recovered and 1,224 died.

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