Brazil halves Covid isolation period for asymptomatic patients

Photo: Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced on Monday that the government has cut down mandatory isolation for patients testing positive for the coronavirus, from 10 days to between five and seven.

To be released from quarantine on the fifth day after a positive test, patients must be asymptomatic and obtain a negative RT-PCR test. After the seventh day of quarantine, testing is no longer required. As Mr. Queiroga stated, Brazil’s new recommendations are similar to those issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Companies across the country fear a massive uptick of employees in Covid isolation as the Omicron variant continues to surge. The seven-day average of new daily coronavirus cases has ballooned from 3,156 on Christmas to 33,146 on January 9 — on par with July 2021 levels. Miguel Nicolelis, a Duke University neuroscientist who is tracking the crisis, believes the country could reach the mark of 2 million new cases a day by March unless mask requirements and isolation rules are tightened.

In order to better assess the progression of the new pandemic wave, the Health Ministry has promised to push for the approval of home testing kits, currently illegal in Brazil.