AHPPC Statement – reduced isolation period for COVID-19 cases

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) notes the need for a proportionate approach to isolation for those with COVID‑19 infections at this stage of the pandemic.

Date published:
General public

The AHPPC notes the need for a proportionate approach to isolation for those with COVID‑19 infections at this stage of the pandemic.  The AHPPC further notes that while balancing a proportionate approach to isolation for all Australians, it is important to ensure the continued protection of those most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 especially in settings where there is increased risk of outbreaks occuring.

Noting this, while COVID-19 cases with no symptoms after five days may leave isolation, the AHPPC strongly advises that these individuals should be excluded from attending high-risk settings (such as residential aged care facilities, disability care facilities and hospitals) until at least seven days following their positive test result and they remain symptom-free. This applies to both staff and visitors.

It remains important for people who continue to have respiratory symptoms after five days following a positive test to continue to isolate until symptoms have resolved.

For those who test positive to COVID-19, please refer to your state or territory website for information about the period of infectiousness, what symptom-free means, how to access antiviral treatment and the steps you can take to reduce the risk of infecting others.

No changes are recommended to the management of close contacts.  Close contacts should continue to monitor for symptoms, avoid high-risk settings, wear a mask when outside the home, test for COVID-19 and stay at home should symptoms develop.

The AHPPC notes the importance of workplaces in using a workplace safety framework whilst implementing this transition, and reiterates the shared responsibility of all Australians in minimising the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

The AHPPC continues to reiterate the importance of other risk mitigating strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and the community. This includes the following:

  • Ensure you are up to date with recommended vaccinations;
  • Stay home if you are unwell, and get tested;
  • Speak to your healthcare professional about eligibility for treatments should you become unwell with COVID-19;
  • Consider wearing a mask when outside your home and especially when in crowded, indoor environments such as public transport;
  • Keep indoor spaces well ventilated;
  • Practise good respiratory and hand hygiene.

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