Govt shortens self-isolation period for close contacts

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office

The recommended isolation period for close-contacts of COVID-19 patients will be shortened by two days, the government announced Friday.

People who have been in contact with someone infected with the novel coronavirus had been advised to self-isolate for seven days, with an option to stop isolating on the fifth day if they tested negative in a qualitative antigen test on the fourth and fifth day.

The self-isolation period will be reduced to three days with negative test results on the second and third day, or five days for those who do not take a coronavirus test.

The government made the decision because an increasing number of people will have to self-isolate amid the recent surge in cases, and long isolation periods could hamper business operations.

Medical personnel and others in pandemic-related roles have been allowed to keep working even if they have had close contact with coronavirus patients, as long as they have no symptoms and test negative before work every day.

Tokyo logged a record 34,995 new cases of novel coronavirus infection Friday, almost double the figure from the same day last week.

A record 186,246 new COVID-19 cases were logged nationwide on Thursday, rewriting the record set the day before.

Thirty-five prefectures reported record-high tallies on Thursday, including Tokyo, which confirmed more than 30,000 new daily cases for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic.