Extra restrictions possible for those with dangerous COVID-19 variants: minister

Adam Niedzielski, Poland’s health minister expects all COVID-19 cases to be sequenced in two months and that people infected with a dangerous variant face “more stringent isolation measures.”

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Mr Niedzielski told a press conference that PLN 6.5 mln (EUR 1.44 mln) would soon reach laboratories of the sanitary inspectorate (Sanepid) in Warsaw and other cities. It will help sequence all confirmed SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections within two months.

Sequencing allows scientists to identify new coronavirus variants.

According to Mr Niedzielski, the Health Ministry wanted the sequencing procedure to be fast enough that test results are known before the end of an infected person’s isolation or quarantine period, in order to facilitate the introduction of “more stringent isolation measures” and detailed research on “the nature of hot-spots and treating outbreaks.”

“When it comes to these more stringent measures, the sanitary inspector has the right and the means to extend quarantine,” the minister added. “The standard is that the first period of extension is 14 days, I am talking here about both isolation and quarantine, but I am also talking about introducing a possible requirement of a negative test before leaving quarantine or isolation,” he stressed.

A health ministry spokesman told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that a possible test prior to the end of quarantine would be carried out both for people infected with the so-called “delta” variant of the virus and other variants with an alert status, as well as those who have had contact with the infected person.