Updates to healthcare protocols
The Ministry of Health (MOH) started the Home Recovery Pilot on 30 August 2021 for fully vaccinated individuals infected with COVID-19 to recover from home. Given the encouraging pilot results, MOH will expand home recovery as the default care management protocol for more fully vaccinated individuals from 15 September 2021.
The scheme will be extended progressively to individuals up to 50 years-old who have no significant co-morbidities or underlying illnesses
• Should be generally well with no or mild symptoms and are able to self-care at home
• Once notified of their COVID-19 positive results, these individuals should immediately self-isolate at home
MOH will also allow and encourage parents to bring their infected children home, if they are at least 5-years old do not have co-morbidities or underlying illnesses. These children will first be assessed by the hospital to be clinically fit for home recovery.
Also, there is evidence that vaccinated COVID-19 cases recover faster than unvaccinated cases. As such, since 7 September, the following will apply to the isolation period for COVID-19 cases:
• Vaccinated COVID-19 cases can be discharged as early as seven days into their illness if they have undetectable or very low viral loads
• Unvaccinated COVID-19 cases will continue to be discharged from 14 days into their illness
Updates to quarantine protocol
The quarantine period for close contacts of COVID-19 cases is currently set at 14 days to account for the maximum COVID-19 incubation period. However, the Delta variant has a shorter incubation period – an average of under 4 days compared to an average of 6 days for the original strain. This means that it will take an average of 4 days after exposure to the virus, for the virus to be detectable in the individual.
As such, the quarantine period for vaccinated individuals will be reduced from 14 days to 10 days from the date of last exposure, provided the person under quarantine tests negative for COVID-19 at the end of his quarantine. He/she will need to continue to conduct daily ART tests after the quarantine period to Day 14 to mitigate any remaining risk of infection. This will be implemented from next week.
Commencing vaccine booster programme
MOH will be commencing the vaccine booster programme for 2 subgroups:
a. Persons aged 60 years and above; and residents of aged care facilities
From 14 September 2021
b. Persons who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
information, please refer to MOH’s press release.