As of 7 January 2022, a Covid-19 diagnosis will not necessarily require a PCR positive test. People without morbidities (higher risk of getting very sick from Covid-19) who are in close contact with a person already diagnosed with Covid-19, will not be required to undergo a test. The medical practitioner can determine the positive diagnosis from close contact or, if required, order a PCR test.
People with a higher risk of having severe Covid-19 symptoms (people older than 60 years of age, children younger than 3 years old, people with comorbidities) will be required to take a Covid-19 test only in the event that they present Covid-19 symptoms.
With respect to the new quarantine rules, people who are in ‘close contact’ and exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, will be required to stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days (instead of 10 or 14 days), regardless of their vaccination status. People who are in ‘close contact’ but do not exhibit symptoms of Covid-19, and are also fully vaccinated, will not be required to self-quarantine at home. In case the person is not fully vaccinated, he/she will be required to stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
The new guidelines have a significant impact on employers, particularly the changes concerning the requirements for quarantine and the length of time applicable to the quarantine (reduced from 10 or 14 days to 7 days. Therefore, it is very important that employers continue to request the employee’s quarantine order, or sick leave order, from a medical practitioner in order to justify their absence for work.