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US lifts quarantine and distancing measures due to COVID

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – The top US health agency on Thursday eased its guidelines for dealing with COVID-19, withdrawing a recommendation that Americans self-quarantine if they come into close contact with an infected person. did.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said that people should no longer be at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others.

The changes, implemented more than two and a half years after the pandemic began, are due to the recognition that nearly 95% of Americans aged 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either by vaccination or by contracting the disease. Because of, the agency official said.

“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from the past two years,” said Greta Masetti of the CDC.

Many parts of the country have long removed social distancing rules and other restrictions that were once common, but some of the changes could be especially important for schools, which resume classes in many parts of the country this month. We do.

Officials said perhaps the biggest change related to education is the removal of the recommendation that schools conduct regular daily tests, although that practice may be reinstated in some situations during a spike in infections.

The CDC has also dropped the “test so you can stay” recommendation, saying that students exposed to COVID-19 can be tested regularly – rather than staying at home – To continue attending school. , Since quarantine is no longer recommended, the option of testing has also disappeared.

The use of masks is still recommended only in areas where community transmission is considered high, or if a person is believed to be at high risk of serious illness.

Even before the latest guidelines were issued, school districts across the United States have stepped up their precautions against COVID-19 in recent weeks. Some have promised they will reintroduce pre-pandemic school procedures.

Masks will be optional in most districts when classes resume this fall, and some of the country’s largest districts have reduced or eliminated COVID-19 testing requirements.

On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA for its abbreviation in English) on Thursday updated its recommendations on how often people exposed to COVID-19 should undergo diagnostic tests. .

Previously, the FDA had advised to conduct two rapid antigen tests in two to three days to avoid infection. The agency now recommends three tests.

FDA officials said the change was based on new studies that suggested older protocols could miss too many infections and predispose people to spread the coronavirus, especially if they don’t develop symptoms.

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