Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients unlikely to spread virus after 10 days – DOH

Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients unlikely to spread virus after 10 days – DOH

Recent evidence shows that COVID-19 patients without symptoms cannot infect others ten days after they test positive for the deadly virus, the Department of Health said, citing studies and scientific articles.

Following the advice of experts based on this finding, the agency updated its protocol to allow doctors to clear infected but asymptomatic people to go home after that period, Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire announced Friday in a media forum.

“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.”

A similar criteria was published in the World Health Organization website.

The DOH earlier required that a patient should test negative for the virus twice in a row, and results must be from samples taken 24 hours apart.

But studies show that reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test, considered as the gold standard, cannot determine if a person is infectious or not, Vergeire said.

“’Di naman sasabihin ng RT-PCR sa iyo kung ang tao ay nakaka-panghawa o hindi na. Ang sasabihin lang sa iyo ng RT-PCR na-de-detect ko lang ang virus sa katawan mo,” she said.

[Translation: RT-PCR cannot tell you whether or not you are infectious. RT-PCR will only tell you that ‘I am detecting the virus in your body.’]

The DOH said with this development, it is also studying shortening the duration of mandatory quarantine.

To date, it usually takes a month before a person could be considered well, as an individual needs to complete another 14 days of quarantine at home after going through quarantine in a facility for two weeks.

Vergeire said this is one of the factors why the the Philippines has a high number of active cases, as she saw this revised guidance to push the number of recoveries up.

As of Friday, the country has 34,073 infections. Of the number, 23,667 are active cases, while 9,182 are recoveries.— Source: CNN Philippines Staff

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