Quarantine period for family members to be cut to 7 days

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s health ministry said Wednesday the quarantine period for family members living with COVID-19 patients will be shortened to seven days if they develop no symptoms by that point.

Due to a rapid increase in the number of infection cases among children, guardians taking care of infected kids have had to remain isolated for a long time before resuming social activities.

Currently, the ministry requires self-isolation of 10 days by coronavirus carriers with symptoms and seven days by asymptomatic carriers, while those in close contact with COVID-19 patients need to stand by at home for seven days.

People taking care of infected family members are considered close contacts and required to stay home for a maximum of 17 days, including up to 10 days for looking after the patients.

Of close contacts, 99.98% developed symptoms within seven days of the symptom onset for the COVID-19 carriers they came in contact with, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The ministry, therefore, judged it appropriate to allow close contacts to leave home if they develop no symptoms by the seventh day from either when the infected family members show symptoms, samples are collected from them or they take measures to prevent infection, whichever takes place later.

COVID-19 patients and their family members will be required to take measures not to spread infection, such as wearing face masks and disinfecting themselves at home, but will not need to use separate rooms.

Close contacts who do not take any infection prevention measures will be required to stand by at home for up to 17 days.