Should Coronavirus Quarantine be Five Days Long Instead of 2 Weeks?

Christian Drosten, a top virologist in Germany, believes that the standard two-week coronavirus quarantine period is far too long. He says that research reveals people are no longer infectious after five days, so that should be the limit of the quarantine period.

According to Drosten, the five-day quarantine period he is recommending should not be “wasted” on tests to confirm the COVID-19 diagnosis. Instead, he said, there should be tests after the quarantine to see whether the individual was indeed infected and whether the person is still infectious.

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Earlier, an analysis of COVID-19 infections by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed an estimated median incubation period of 5.1 days — longer than for typical common colds.

“Based on our analysis of publicly available data, the current recommendation of 14 days for active monitoring or quarantine is reasonable, although with that period some cases would be missed over the long-term,” said study senior author Justin Lessler, an associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology.

In late February, when China was still the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) and China conducted a joint mission to learn more about the characteristics of the coronavirus and come up with containment strategies that could be internationally implemented.

The WHO-China report concluded that the mean incubation period for COVID-19 was five to six days, but the full range was one to 14 days, meaning as many as 14 days could pass between when a person was exposed to the virus and the onset of symptoms.

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