Asymptomatic Boosted Adults Exempted From Close-Contact Quarantine

From March 1, close contacts aged 18 years and older do not have to self-isolate if they received a booster jab and if they don’t show symptoms the day they were exposed to a positive case; they only need to test on that day and the 3rd day from exposure.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – Close contacts aged 18 years and older will not be required to self-isolate if they have received a Covid-19 vaccine booster and if they do not show symptoms the day they were exposed to a positive Covid-19 case, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced today. 

These individuals simply need to self-test on a Covid-19 antigen rapid test kit (RTK) on Day One and Day Three from the last day that they were exposed to the positive Covid-19 case.

For example, if one last got into contact with a positive case on February 24, then Day One is February 24 and Day Three is February 26.

In a scenario where A got swabbed on February 22 and met B on February 24, but got her positive test result on February 24 after the meeting, B’s last exposure to A is February 24 and B can do an antigen RTK-self test on the same day (Day One).

In another scenario, A got swabbed on February 22 and met B on February 23. On February 24, A informs B that she tested positive, which is the second day from B’s exposure to A. So, B can do an antigen RTK on February 24 (Day Two) and again on February 25 (Day Three).

People will also have to fill in the health assessment tool on the MySejahtera app when they are identified as close contacts. If they state that they do not have symptoms, then they will not receive a home surveillance order (HSO).

The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) new isolation policy for close contacts comes into effect on March 1.

“We find that with Omicron, the incubation period is three days, where individuals will start showing symptoms or test positive,” Khairy told a press conference today.

“This is an approach that has undergone risk evaluation by MOH. We find that if they’re not symptomatic, the probability of a high viral load is low,” he said.

Khairy noted that fully vaccinated people tend to have lower viral loads if infected during the Omicron wave and that viral loads will presumably decrease for those who received booster shots.

“This is a step towards endemicity,” said the health minister.

“We haven’t reached the endemic phase yet, but with high vaccine coverage and increasing booster coverage, decoupling of daily infections from the severe effects of Covid-19, MOH feels that based on risk evaluation, this is a policy that can be introduced at this time in managing the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Other adult close contacts of positive Covid-19 cases, as well as close contacts aged below 18, will be required to quarantine for five days if they are fully vaccinated, or seven days if they are unvaccinated.

Adults aged 18 and above who have received their booster jab will also be required to self-isolate for five days if they show symptoms after getting into close contact with a positive Covid-19 case.

Symptomatic close contacts need to do an antigen rapid test on Day Five from their exposure to a positive Covid-19 case, after which they will be released from their HSO if they test negative.

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