Shorter 5-day Health Risk Notice to replace 7-day HRW for COVID-19 close contacts from Feb 18

This is because the incubation period for the Omicron variant is shorter.

Nur Sabrina

Needs her space organised and clean 24/7.

Published: 16 February 2022, 7:18 PM

Those who have been in close contact with individuals infected with COVID-19’s Omicron variant will no longer receive a health risk warning (HRW) from Feb 18 and their self-monitoring period will be reduced to five days instead of seven days. 

This is in light of the Omicron variant’s shorter incubation period, said the Ministry of Health on Feb 16. 

Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung explained that the serial interval for the Delta variant is around four days, whereas it is only two days for Omicron. The serial interval refers to the time taken for the virus onset from the first person to infect the next person.

Starting this Friday (Feb 18), the HRW will be replaced with a health risk notice (HRN) that lasts for five days.

Those issued with a HRN must enter self-isolation immediately and take a self-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART). For the duration of the notice, a negative ART test is needed before the person is allowed to leave home. 

MOH also noted that since there are cases who tested positive via self-administered ARTs, many close contacts will not receive the HRW or HRN.

Those who are aware that they are close contacts with a COVID-19 positive case  should be socially responsible – monitoring their health and self-testing with ARTs before going out – even if they did not receive a HRN.

Additionally, more COVID-19 patients can be evaluated by primary care doctors from Feb 16 onwards, said MOH.

Patients aged three to 69, vaccinated or not, and fully vaccinated patients aged 70 to 79 will no longer be required to visit the hospital if they are not experiencing serious symptoms. 

Fully vaccinated seniors aged 80 and above and non-vaccinated seniors aged 70 to 79 will also be allowed to recover at home while receiving care and treatment through telemedicine providers. 

However, unvaccinated patients who are 80 years old and above, as well as infants younger than three months, will still be managed in a care facility. 

This will ensure that those who require more medical attention can receive help as quickly as possible. 

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