German health officials have cancelled the rule that doctors need to go into quarantine after being exposed to somebody infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Previously medics have been sent into two weeks quarantine after coming into unprotected contact with a confirmed sufferer, but this has now been cancelled as the number of hospitals fill with infected people.
A spokesman for officials in Saxony confirmed the internal document published by German media had been sent to all the doctors in Saxony informing them that the quarantine rules were being relaxed for doctors.
But they said it was a decision based on information from the German government agency and research organisation, the Robert Koch Institute, which is responsible for disease control and prevention.
The most immediate change is that GPs who have an infected person in the surgery will no longer be expected to go into quarantine, and instead they will be obliged to spend two weeks wearing a face mask and check themselves regularly for symptoms.
In addition, they will be expected to be tested on the second and the fifth day after contact with an infected person.
The Saxony Doctors Association confirmed that not only was the letter genuine, but also confirmed that it was largely the practice that had already been adopted in the state, according to boss Klaus Heckmann.
They said that already there had been two clinics in Dresden where people have been exposed to the virus via infected patients, but have been allowed to continue working.
In some cases the doctors had actually become infected, but also still working although with protective clothing to keep patients safe as possible.
Heckmann added: “The decision is logical. Otherwise we would end up with no doctors or medical personnel because all of them will be coming into contact with infected people and if they straightaway went into quarantine, we would soon have a very big problem.”
He said if all the doctors were in quarantine at home, the ill people would get no treatment.
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