Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has taken to social media to clear up confusion around quarantine and isolation.
In a series of tweets posted on Sunday evening, he described quarantine as “the period when you may be incubating illness or the period following exposure before you may develop illness.”
“This period applies to close contacts and international travellers who may have been exposed overseas.
“Quarantine is 14 days (REGARDLESS of test results) because someone in quarantine could become positive at ANY POINT in this timeframe. A negative test is no guarantee that you won’t become positive later in the 14 day period. You may. You may not.”
When it came to isolation, he said it was the period “required for a confirmed case to be away from others because they are infectious or potentially infectious.”
“People with COVID-19 are understood to be infectious from 1-2 days before symptoms until a maximum of 10 days after, if symptoms have resolved.
“Some individuals who are hospitalised or have immune compromise are potentially infectious for longer and are therefore isolated for longer. The main criterion to clear these people is that they are free of symptoms. A negative test also helps those with persistent symptoms.
“But why isn’t a negative test a REQUIREMENT for release from iso? Because for those people, the test can remain positive for days, or weeks, or sometimes months. That means virus is detectable but it doesn’t mean the individual is infectious. They almost certainly aren’t.”
The explanation comes after a woman was allowed to leave hotel quarantine after just 10 days in Melbourne, before being found to have carried the UK coronavirus strain into Queensland.