Nobody likes isolating but in certain cases this is the only way to protect those dearest to you and to avoid infecting others

Close Contacts of a Confirmed Case

What is close contact?

Close contact is exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 patient for more than 15 minutes at a distance of less than 2 meters. The most common cases of exposure are a housemate who was confirmed as a COVID-19 patient, a co-worker working beside you, a classmate sitting next to you or a fellow passenger on a public transportation means (even if sometimes you don't know their identity).

Close contact can also be physical contact, such as a kiss, a hug or a handshake with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, regardless of the duration of physical proximity to them.
You should know: A confirmed COVID-19 patient may be asymptomatic at the time of contact and still be infectious.

Who is considered the close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 patient?

  • In case of a confirmed COVID-19 patient for whom the onset of symptoms is known, anyone who came in close contact with this person for up to 4 days before the onset of symptoms (the day of onset of symptoms is not included) will be required to go into isolation.
  • In case of a confirmed COVID-19 patient for whom the onset of symptoms is unknown, anyone who came in close contact with this person for up to 7 days before the test (the day of the test is not included) will be required to go into isolation.
  • In case of an asymptomatic confirmed COVID-19 patient, anyone who came in close contact with this person for up to 7 days before the test (the day of the test is not included) will be required to go into isolation.

Who is required to go into isolation, and for how long?

Individuals aged 60 and older and individuals at risk

Individuals aged 60 and older and individuals from high risk groups are advised to take a PCR test within 72 hours from the time of exposure so they could receive medical treatment aimed at slowing the progression of the disease as necessary.

Unvaccinated and non-infected individuals aged 60 and older or from high risk groups

You are required to go into isolation. You are advised to take a PCR test within 72 hours from the time of exposure

  • If the result is negative, you are required to stay in isolation until you test negative on a PCR test taken starting from the 5th day of isolation (the date of last contact with the confirmed COVID-19 patient is the 1st day of isolation), provided that you meet all the terms and conditions for isolation reduction.
  • If the result is positive, you are required to stay in isolation for at least 5 days, and follow the isolation guidance for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Vaccinated and recovered individuals aged 60 and older or from high risk groups

You are advised to take a PCR test within 72 hours from the time of exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 patient.

If you recovered from COVID-19 less than 60 days ago, you are not required to test or to go into isolation.

The rest of the population

Unvaccinated and non-infected individuals

You are required to go into isolation. You are advised to take a home rapid test on the 3rd day of isolation.

  • If you took a home test and tested positive, you are required to take a supervised test.
  • If the result is positive, you are required to stay in isolation for at least 5 days, and follow the isolation guidance for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • If the result of either the home rapid test or the supervised rapid test is negative, or if you did not take a home test, you are required to continue your isolation.

Starting from the 5th day of isolation, you are required to take a supervised rapid test in one of the authorized testing stations.

Vaccinated and recovered individuals are not required to go into isolation. It is advised to take a home rapid test or a supervised rapid test at one of the authorized testing stations.

  • If the result is negative, isolation is not required.
  • If the result is positive: If the result is from a home rapid test, you are required to take a supervised rapid test in one of the authorized testing stations in order to receive the status first of COVID-19 confirmed case and subsequently the status of recovered. If the result of that test is positive as well, you are required to stay in isolation for at least 5 days, and follow the isolation guidance for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Note: If you came in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient and you tested negative on a rapid test or a PCR test and you are exempt from isolation, you are still required to avoid staying in crowded establishment for recreation and leisure purposes, and to avoid close contact with at-risk individuals, with adults aged 60 and older and individuals from high risk groups, up to the 5th day after exposure to the confirmed COVID-19 patient (the day of last close contact with the patient is the 1st day).

Additionally, vaccinated and recovered individuals may receive a special order by a district physician, from the Head of Public Health Services or from the Ministry of Health's Director General to go into isolation in the following cases:

  • If they came in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient infected with a variant of concern of the various, or there is room for concern that they came in such contact with such a patient due to an exceptional infection incident.
  • If they came in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and they are regularly found in a facility where adults aged 65 and older, individuals with pre-existing conditions, unvaccinated individuals or individuals for whom the vaccine is known to have reduced efficacy are found.
  • If you came in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient on a flight.

Testing costs

  • Supervised rapid tests administered in authorized stations after exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 patients are free of charge.
  • Home rapid test kits are privately paid.

Self-report

You must report your isolation to the Ministry of Health.
Parents should also file a separate report for each of their children who are in isolation.
Isolation self-report form

Isolation duration and isolation reduction

The full isolation lasts 14 days, with the 1st day being the date of last contact with the confirmed COVID-19 patient. Isolation lasts until 24:00 on the 14th day.

It is possible to have your isolation reduced starting from the 5th day of isolation, if you meet all the terms and conditions thereof.
Guidance for isolation reduction

Who may I stay with during isolation?

You may take one of two routes:

  • Separate those who need to stay in isolation from other household members.
  • Stay in isolation with all other household members. In this case, the isolation area is the entire house and everyone must complete their required isolation duration together.
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