Guidance on quarantine of close contacts to COVID-19 cases and isolation of COVID-19 cases, in the current epidemiological situation, 7 January 2022

[a] Testing by either RADT or RT-PCR should preferably be performed by a qualified professional. Self-testing by RADTs is not considered adequate for releasing from quarantine.

[b] In this table, the term ‘vaccinated’ refers to people who:

  • have received a full primary COVID-19 vaccination course within the last six months.
    • The duration of protection is subject to evolving evidence and this may need to be taken into account.
    • In areas/countries where the Omicron VOC is dominant, this period may be restricted further to three months*. 
    • This does not apply to one-dose vaccines.
  • have received a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
    • In areas/countries where the Omicron VOC is dominant, this period may be restricted further to three months*. 

* SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England Technical briefing: Update on hospitalisation and vaccine effectiveness for Omicron VOC-21NOV-01 (B.1.1.529). London: UK Health Security Agency; 2021. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1044481/Technical-Briefing-31-Dec-2021-Omicron_severity_update.pdf

Previously infected individuals should follow the recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals if it has been less than six months since the previous diagnosis. If it has been more than six months from the previous diagnosis, they should follow the recommendations for unvaccinated individuals.

[c] When recommending a shorter duration of quarantine, the residual risk of onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2 increases. Therefore, in addition to mask use, individuals identified as close contacts should be advised to avoid non-essential contact with other people and especially vulnerable individuals.

[d] Where a high-efficiency mask is recommended, an FFP2 (or equivalent) without a valve should be used. To be effective, these need to be worn properly at all times. Fit testing is recommended, especially for those working in the healthcare sector. 

 

Table 2. Guidance on isolation of COVID-19 cases and non-evidence-based options for adaptation

This table aims to provide options for isolation of essential workers (for example, individuals working in healthcare, transportation or law enforcement) and does not address the isolation of hospitalised patients.