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COVID-19 patients discharged after 14 days not infectious: HMC doctor
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COVID-19 patients discharged after 14 days not infectious: HMC doctor

Catherine W Gichuki
Doha
A Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Virologist has said that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients who are being discharged from healthcare facilities, 14 days after their first positive swab are not contagious.
A new protocol was announced saying that a majority of COVID-19 patients will be discharged from the healthcare facilities 14 days after the first swab. However, they are required to do isolation at home for a week.
Speaking to Qatar Tribune HMC Head of Virology Dr Peter Valentine Coyle said, “
The evidence is that people are no longer infectious. In fact the evidence suggests that people are no longer infectious from about day 10 but we are being a bit conservative by saying day 14. All the evidence shows that the virus is infectious for a much smaller period of time that we thought originally.”
According to him, the original advice was to do two tests 24 hours apart and get negative results. “The time-based protocol is that one is no longer infectious after 10 days but we are extending up to day 14.  The patients are no longer infectious at that stage therefore it is safe way to proceed.”
He added that the one week isolation after discharge from hospital is a precautionary measure even though they are not contagious. 
“These people are no longer infectious but as a precaution for the 7 days when they go home. It is very precautionary because safety is paramount. I think this is a safe way to proceed. Previously it was probably understable because we didn’t know how the virus behaved.”
Dr Coyle however said that this new protocol is the same for all patients, however, patients who are unwell will not be discharged from the hospital.
“If a patient is unwell, then they will not be discharged. They will still be getting treated. After that there will be a clinical decision as to when they will be discharged.” 
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