USFK to release asymptomatic COVID-19 patients after 20-day isolation

SEOUL, The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Tuesday it will release coronavirus patients without symptoms after 20 days of quarantine even if they continue to test positive for the virus, citing medical research that individuals are no longer contagious after 20 days.
USFK said it came up with the change in the discharge policy after thorough coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), but the new policy is still expected to cause concern among the public.
“USFK … will begin to release individuals from isolation once they have reached 21 days in isolation, regardless if they continue to test positive for COVID-19,” USFK said in a statement.
“Recent medical research studies have indicated that individuals are no longer contagious after 20 days, even though their COVID-19 test can remain positive beyond this time,” it added, noting that the decision was made “after through coordination” with the U.S. and South Korean health authorities.
Though the patients are released from isolation, they will come under the authorities’ thorough monitoring, a USFK official said.
Other key quarantine measures will be in place, including requiring all USFK-affiliated individuals arriving in South Korea to undergo a virus test and to be quarantined for 14 days. Medical personnel administer a second test prior to their release.
“USFK policies still exceed both U.S. and ROK release criteria, and we remain more stringent than everyone else in identifying, containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 within our formations, installations, and communities,” USFK said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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