Definitions of COVID-19 cases and close contacts
Suspected case of COVID-19: A person with acute respiratory tract infection and fever, cough or difficulty breathing, or who is considered by a doctor to have suspected COVID-19.
Probable case of COVID-19: A person who becomes a suspected case while in quarantine as a close contact to a confirmed case where a test result is not present.
It is recommended that probable cases should be handled in the same way as confirmed cases, although this is not named in the COVID-19 regulations.
A person with COVID-19 confirmed by PCR or other recommended diagnostic method.
"Close contacts" mean people who have been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 disease from 48 hours before symptom debut and until that person comes out of isolation. According to the COVID-19 regulations, these people must be in quarantine. People who have had the closest contact have the greatest risk of infection. With probable, but not confirmed COVID-19, it is recommended that household members or equivalent close contacts should be in quarantine.
Household members or equivalent close contacts
- Live in the same household as a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19.
- Have had similar close contact as someone in a household, e.g. boyfriend/girlfriend of someone with confirmed or probable COVID-19.
- Have cared for a patient, or had similar close contact with a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19, without using the recommended protective equipment.
Other close contacts
- Indoors: closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes continuously with a person with confirmed COVID-19 disease.
- Outdoors: closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes continuously, face-to-face, with a person with confirmed COVID-19 disease.
- Have been in direct physical contact with (e.g. shaken hands) with a person with confirmed COVID-19 disease.
- Have been in direct contact with secretions (e.g. been coughed upon) from a person with confirmed COVID-19 disease.
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SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that is causing the outbreak of COVID-19 disease.
The virus is related to another coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 but is not the same virus.