Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Testing for the coronavirus outside Shaare Zedek Medical Center, April 30, 2020.

Israel’s Health Ministry on Wednesday morning issued new guidelines for exiting the isolation period of verified coronavirus patients. The guidelines are in keeping with the latest scientific knowledge regarding the virus, according to which the risk of becoming infected by a confirmed patient 9 days after symptoms had begun to appear is low. International health organizations have updated their recommendations on the duration of isolation of a verified case accordingly.

Here are the new Health Ministry guidelines:

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1. In the case of a symptomatic patient whose onset of the infection is known: after 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and at least another three days without symptoms are recorded, they are exempt from isolation without the need for further testing.

2. Patients with symptoms whose onset is unknown: the patient will be considered recoveed 10 days after receiving the last positive test, provided that at least three days have passed since the symptoms disappeared – without the need for another test.

3. Asymptomatic patients who were identified as infected carriers can automatically get out of isolation as soon as 10 days have passed from the moment of the last positive test, without additional requirements.

The Health Ministry clarified, however, that only a physician may approve the shortening of a patient’s isolation period and define them as “recovering.”

The ministry stressed that the new guidelines would lead to a quicker definition of recovery and significant savings in the number of recovery tests required.

The new guidelines come after the US last weekend issued a dramatic order shortening the length of isolation to 10 days.

This may be as good a time as any to remind our readers that there are 4,028,733 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US as of Tuesday, and 144,958 US citizens have died of the disease.

The American Centers for Disease Control have reviewed a large body of evidence and announced that the time that elapses from the moment the symptoms appear until the moment a person is not contagious is 10 days at most.

The head of the innovation department at the Clalit Health Services HMO, Prof. Ran Blitzer, told News 12 the impact on the economy of shortening the isolation time would be enormous.

Let’s call it Operation Throw Caution to the Wind.

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