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US Shortens COVID-19 Quarantine to 10 Days

A member of the National Guard assisting at a COVID-19 mobile testing location looks out of a tent used for drive-thru tests, in Auburn, Maine, Dec. 1, 2020.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that Americans potentially exposed to COVID-19 could quarantine for 10 days, shortening the previous recommendation of 14 days.

The CDC also said that a seven-day quarantine was acceptable with a negative test result, but cautioned that everyone should monitor themselves for potential coronavirus symptoms for 14 days.

“Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to follow critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time,” CDC official Henry Walke told reporters on a conference call.

Last week, a top U.S. health official said people might be more likely to comply with a shorter quarantine period, even if it meant some infections might be missed.

Studies show that most people develop symptoms around five days after being exposed to the virus. The CDC said its new guidelines are based on new analysis of data and research.

The World Health Organization still recommends a 14-day quarantine period after potential exposure to COVID-19.

Esha Grover contributed to this report.