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Montevideo, June 9th 2023 - 21:08 UTC



Argentine Health Ministry eyes shortening isolation for those fully vaccinated

Friday, December 31st 2021 - 09:45 UTC
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Medical workers are also entitled and mandated to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, thus understaffing various hospitals Medical workers are also entitled and mandated to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, thus understaffing various hospitals

The Government of Argentina is monitoring the Uruguayan case closely to determine whether it is still useful to isolate COVID-19 close contacts who are already vaccinated against the disease, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti said the day after she announced a reduction in the number of quarantine days.

Vizzotti admitted she was watching the Uruguayan case to decide whether to stop isolating close contacts who are already vaccinated. “surely in a couple of weeks there will be more evidence,” Vizzotti said.

“We are going to see how Uruguay does with this measure of not isolating the vaccinated and based on that, [we will] define if there is any other recommendation,” Vizzotti said in a radio interview.

Uruguay's Health Ministry decided last week to no longer isolate close contacts of COVID-19 cases who are already vaccinated and to lift all requirements for those already immunized with three doses.

As per the previous scheme, in Uruguay, those who were close contacts of a positive case of coronavirus had to undergo a swab test carry out a preventive quarantine. Under the new rules, those fully vaccinated will only have to take an antigen test when notifying the contact and a weekly PCR, but isolation will not be necessary. And those who completed the two-dose schedule and also added a booster vaccine, will not even have to be tested.

“Measures are always debatable,” Vizzotti admitted. There are countries like Uruguay that have decided that they are not isolating the vaccinated and other countries have longer periods of isolation,“ she argued after agreeing last Wednesday with health ministers nationwide to reduce the days in isolation for those infected with COVID-19 and their close contacts who have taken the complete vaccination scheme.

Starting Thursday, people who test positive and have two doses of vaccine must be isolated for seven days and not 10, while asymptomatic close contacts who have also taken a full vaccination scheme, will need spend just five days in isolation, while positive cases or close contacts with one dose of vaccine or just unvaccinated should comply with a full 10-day isolation.

In the meantime, isolations and positivity have led to a shortage of of medical and nursing staff, in addition to those who are spared from on-site work because they are among the so-called ”risk” patients (those with underlying medical conditions).

The lack of personnel is linked to professionals who had to isolate themselves because they had Covid or because they were in close contact with someone infected.

Health workers are now in short supply from long before the coronavirus pandemic and even during it, with professionals chaninging jobs or retiring due to physical and mental exhaustion. In the last fortnight, COVID-19 cases grew 225%.

Last Tuesday Córdoba had been the first province to shorten the isolation period of people infected with coronavirus, while establishing differential confinement terms for essential workers.

Compared to other waves, the number of infected people soars but the number of hospitalizations in intensive care and the number of deaths from the virus remain stable, thanks to 83% of the population being vaccinated, according to Vizzotti.

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