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THL recommends reducing quarantine period to five days

The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) also proposed shifting focus away from contact tracing.

THL Director of Health Security Mika Salminen recommends reducing quarantine and isolation to five days. Image: Lehtikuva

In a statement to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, public health authority THL has proposed reducing the mandatory period of Covid quarantine and isolation to five days.

Currently, the duration of quarantine and isolation, as prescribed by an infectious disease physician, is ten days.

In its statement, THL proposed that "reducing quarantine and isolation should be considered, with an emphasis on immediate and self-imposed isolation for five days after the onset of symptoms."

The authority justified its proposal by pointing out that many other countries have shortened the length of quarantine and isolation, and added that the reduction of quarantine periods should also be considered in order to maintain a sufficient number of healthcare workers.

"Rapid self-isolation is a very effective way to avoid further infections when Covid-induced symptoms occur. In addition, Covid testing and contact tracing are heavily congested in many areas, so it can take several days to receive official information," THL director Mika Salminen wrote in the press release.

Only an infectious disease physician can order the official quarantine or isolation of a symptomatic patient. However, people have been urged to enforce a self-imposed quarantine and avoiding contact with others while waiting for their test results.

THL recommends shifting the focus away from tracking

In its statement, THL also assessed Covid testing and tracking.

Arguing that contact tracing does not work effectively in the current situation, THL recommended shifting resources from tracking infections to medical care and vaccinations. According to THL, the practice of contact tracing is inefficient due to test results, tracking calls and quarantine orders being delayed for several days.

The authority added that monitoring the infections of vaccinated and overall healthy people is not as important as securing hospital capacity and providing booster vaccinations, in the current circumstances.

"Our view is that due to the congestion in testing and tracking, as well as for overall effectiveness, resources should now be directed differently," THL CEO Markku Tervahauta said.