Guidance on ending the isolation period for people with COVID-19, third update

Technical report

28 Jan 2022

This update includes new and emerging evidence on the shedding of SARS-CoV-2 variants including the newly emerged B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant of concern (VOC), and considers options for modifying isolation periods to address pressures on healthcare systems and/or societal functioning. Evidence on viral shedding by individuals vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines is also included, with emerging evidence specifically for the Omicron VOC. Rapid antigen detection tests (RADTs) are now included in the testing options for ending isolation with specific advice on self-test RADTs. Guidance on the optimum isolation period for prevention of transmission from asymptomatic and mild or moderate fully-vaccinated cases is provided, as well as options for decreasing the period of isolation for COVID-19 cases when countries face high or extreme pressure on their healthcare system and societies from significant increases of COVID-19 cases. The document also gives consideration to possible reduced isolation requirements in the longer term.