On June 28, 2022, the State Council of China released an updated guideline – “Prevention and Control Program for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Ninth Edition)” – which reduces quarantine and at-home monitoring periods for Covid-19, as well as changes for risk area definitions. Here are our key observations of the new guidelines:
- The quarantine period of close contacts and inbound visitors will be adjusted from “14-day centralized quarantine for medical observation + 7-day at-home health monitoring” to “7-day centralized quarantine for medical observation + 3-day at-home health monitoring“.
- The time to take nucleic acid testing is adjusted to the first, second, third, fifth, and seventh days during centralized quarantine for medical observation and the third day during the at-home health monitoring period.
- Before a person is released from the centralized quarantine, double testing is no longer required.
- The control measures for those secondary close contacts for COVID-19 will be adjusted from “7-day centralized quarantine for medical observation” to “7-day at-home quarantine for medical observation” with nucleic acid testing on the first, fourth and seventh days.
- High-risk zones are subject to the policy of “remaining indoors with door-to-door services”. If there are no new infections for 7 consecutive days, a high-risk zone can be delimited as a medium-risk zone. Then, if there are no new infections for 3 consecutive days as a medium-risk zone, it can be considered as a low-risk zone. In other regions, people with a history of travel and residence in the high-risk zone in the past 7 days will be quarantined for medical observation for 7 days.
- The medium-risk zones are subject to the policy of “remaining within the zone and picking up things at different peak times”. If there are no new infections for 7 consecutive days in a medium-risk zone, it can then be considered a low-risk zone. In other areas, people with a history of sojourn and residence in high-risk areas within the last 7 days shall be put under home medical observation for 7 days.
- Low-risk zones refer to other areas in counties (cities, districts, and banners) where medium-risk zones and high-risk zones are identified. Low-risk zones are subject to the policy of “implementing protection measures at the personal level and avoiding social gathering”. In other regions, people with a history of living and traveling in low-risk zones within the past 7 days are required to complete nucleic acid tests twice within 3 days.
Overall, the Nine Edition of the prevention and control program has cautiously eased the mandatory quarantine requirements to a certain extent, and it also standardizes the requirements of epidemic control across the board and strengthens the epidemic surveillance.