Singapore shortens COVID-19 quarantine period to 10 days due to Delta variant’s shorter incubation

The change takes effect from next week.

Noreen Shazreen

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Published: 10 September 2021, 5:05 PM

The quarantine period in Singapore for those at risk of exposure to COVID-19 will be shortened from 14 days to 10 days, authorities announced on Friday (Sep 10). 

The change takes effect next week, to accommodate the shorter incubation period of the Delta variant.

Incubation periods for the Delta variant are typically four days or less on average, compared to six to eight days for the original strain, according to the multi-ministry task force.

As a result, it will take about four days after exposure before the virus can be detected in an individual.

The quarantine period will be reduced to 10 days from the date of last exposure, provided if the individual under quarantine tests negative for COVID-19 at the end of their quarantine period. The person will also need to undergo daily antigen rapid tests (ART) for four more days after the quarantine period to minimise the risk of infection.

Professor Kenneth Mak, Singapore’s director of medical services, said the National Centre for Infectious Diseases discovered that those infected with the Delta variant may have high viral loads at an early stage of their infection.

“This is particularly for vaccinated but infected cases. And they have more prolonged shedding of the virus, compared to other variants,” he added.

The MOH stated that the changes to the quarantine period will not apply to dormitory residents due to the higher risk of transmission, caused by their confined living arrangements.

In addition, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) period will remain at 14 days for travellers returning to Singapore.

With the spike in the number of infection cases, contact tracing resources will be prioritised to prevent large clusters in high-risk locations and vulnerable settings.

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