Edelstein: Quarantine to Be Shortened From 14 to 12 Days

Health-care workers take test samples of Israelis to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus, at a Clalit health center in Lod. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced on Sunday a pilot program that will see the mandatory 14-day coronavirus quarantine shortened to 12 days.

Edelstein made the decision following consultations with Health Ministry professionals, the ministry said in a statement. The outline for the full pilot program regarding required quarantine will be drafted in the coming days and it will remain in effect until the end of 2020.

“Our goal is to enable maximum freedom with minimal danger to public health,” Edelstein said.

The announcement was lauded by MK Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz), who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and and has for months been pushing for a shortened quarantine period.

“Better late than never! I congratulate the Health Ministry for making the correct and desired decision to shorten the isolation period by two days. Hopefully, with the success of this pilot, the required quarantine will be shortened to 10 days,” Hauser said.

It was not the first time that the Health Ministry has updated its quarantine requirements. Under rules introduced in July, patients who were diagnosed with the virus were considered cured after spending 10, instead of 14, days in quarantine from the moment they first showed coronavirus symptoms, plus an additional three days during which they must show no symptoms.

Patients who do not know exactly when they began experiencing symptoms have since been required to spend 10 days in quarantine from the moment they were informed of a positive test result for the virus, and then leave isolation after three more days without symptoms.

Those diagnosed with the virus but are asymptomatic can leave quarantine after 10 days, the ministry said in July.

In all cases, no further test for the virus is necessary, although the ministry noted then that a doctor’s authorization was still required to indicate that the patients do not have virus symptoms.