COVID-19 – Improvement on the briefing procedures of persons testing positive for the virus and their close contacts

As per Ministry of Health Announcement, in the light of the increased COVID-19 cases being recorded daily and in an effort to improve on the briefing procedures of persons testing positive to the virus as well as of their close contacts, the Tracing Team of the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit has proceeded to bring changes to its procedures. The aim of updating the procedures is to minimize the time required to inform both the confirmed outbreaks and their contacts, given the big increase of the confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as of their close contacts.

More specifically, as regards the briefing of those persons testing positive to the virus, the procedure has been modified so that if they are not informed by telephone by the end of the day, they are informed through the sending of a written message (SMS) that the result of their laboratory testing has been positive. Besides the result, the written message also gives a link with written instructions , which must be followed by a person positive to the virus. Upon receiving the message, the said person should place himself in house isolation and begin to write down the persons with which it had close contact 48 hours before showing the symptoms or before the day of the sample taking, if it has to do with a non-symptomatic patient.

Thereafter and within 24 hours, the Tracing Team shall make telephone contact with the person and take down the data, while a form is sent via email to the confirmed case in order for him to enter the close contacts. The person positive to the virus is also obliged to communicate with his close contacts, informing them that their details have been stated for tracing and telling them that they must remain in self-isolation until the Epidemiological Unit contact them in order to arrange an appointment for blood sample.

As regards the communication with persons defined as close contacts, the first briefing is given by the outbreak themselves. Immediately afterwards they should remain in self-isolation and wait for a telephone contact within 72 hours from the Services of the Ministry to arrange an appointment for blood sample. In parallel and in addition to the briefing conducted by the confirmed case themselves, the persons stated as close contacts shall receive a written message (SMS) with a link with the written instructions they ought to follow.

It is noted that in both the cases of the persons testing positive to the virus and of the close contacts, the information through written message is considered official and the person concerned shall be obliged to strictly follow the instructions given him.

In case any person informed that he is a close contact of an outbreak or has displayed symptoms before the Tracing Team has communicated with him, he shall be obliged to inform his Personal Physician about the symptoms, making sure he states that he is a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case.