In a bid to decongest hospitals and quarantine facilities, the government last week announced the isolation period for patients with confirmed coronavirus infections has been reduced to 10 days, while a negative test on the seventh day will end quarantine.
The revised de-isolation and quarantine protocols follow recent guidelines by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are based on global studies that most Covid-19 patients are no longer infectious after a certain amount of time.
Announcing the revised protocols, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said asymptomatic patients would be discharged from isolation 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19. Symptomatic patients will be discharged from isolation 10 days after onset of symptoms, with at least three additional days without symptoms.
"All patients will have a test conducted on day 10 after the initial test, for asymptomatic or day 10 after symptoms onset for symptomatic. If the test is positive, the patient will be instructed to exercise additional caution with physical distancing, wearing of mask, and hand hygiene for the next 10 days," Shangula said.
"These recommendations are in line with the newest WHO and CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance. Any confirmed Covid-19 case that has been de-isolated according to the aforementioned criteria will be considered as having recovered. Thus, recovery would no longer be based on re-testing negative on PCR (polymerase chain reaction)."
Shangula also announced the quarantine period has been reduced from 14 days to seven days in approved facilities.
"This will help people get back to their normal lives sooner, it will decongest the quarantine facilities, and it still keeps us safe according to all of the latest science. In terms of details, it has been decided that quarantine protocol adopts a three-tiered structure," Shangula remarked.
During tier 1 and where there is no community transmission, the duration of quarantine is reduced from 14 to seven days, while a negative test on the seventh day will end quarantine. If a person tests positive they will immediately be placed in isolation.
Shangula said during tier 2 and where there is established community transmission, the length of quarantine is proposed to be a minimum of seven days.
Contacts would all be tested at the end of the quarantine on day seven and released once a negative result is obtained. If a positive result is obtained, they would enter into isolation. Contacts would be allowed to quarantine at home if it is suitable.
There is also tier 3A for travellers arriving in Namibia.
The length of quarantine is reduced from 14 days to seven days in approved facilities.
Travellers are expected to arrive with negative PCR-based results, not older than seven days. They would only be tested on day seven and discharged with negative results.
Tier 3B is a special dispensation under the Tourism Revival Initiative.
The length of quarantine is seven days in approved facilities.
Travellers are expected to arrive with negative PCR-based results and tested within seven days of arrival in Namibia. They will be tested on day 5 and discharged on negative results. Shangula said it was now clear there is no evidence of risk that somebody can infect another person with the virus after 10 days of infection.