After the 10-day isolation period, those who have tested positive should no longer be contagious, says health director Jean-Claude Schmit. Photo: Shutterstock
Amongst those tested positive for covid-19, some may want a second test to make sure they have fully recovered and a lot of companies ask for a negative test result before letting staff return to the office. However, this is not recommended by the national health directorate or the chamber of skilled trades and crafts.
Whereas some people, who have been tested positive for the novel coronavirus choose to take a second test at the end of the isolation period to make sure they have fully recovered, the health directorate does not recommend it. “In general, a second test after the 10-day isolation period is not required,” says health director Jean-Claude Schmit, when approached by Delano’s sister publication Paperjam.
Yet many companies are demanding a negative test result before allowing employees to return to work. “This is a problem that arises in companies, some calling for this negative test,” says Marc Gross, head of social and European affairs of the chamber of skilled trades and crafts.
If the health directorate does not recommend a second test at the end of the isolation period, the reason is first of all medical: “The contagiousness of an infected person is highest just before the beginning of symptoms or before the positive test and decreases rapidly thereafter,” explains Schmit. “It no longer exists after days, subject to the disappearance of symptoms at that time. However, the test may remain positive for a longer period of time.”
As for people who still have symptoms after 10 days, “a medical consultation is necessary and the doctor will then decide what to do,” says Schmit. Different rules also apply to specific sectors of activity, such as hospitals or the care sector, he notes.
An opinion that the chamber of skilled trades and crafts agrees with. "We discussed this and concluded that this negative test result is not recommended to companies," says Gross. A second test would be "contraindicated", on the one hand, because of the medical advice given by the health directorate, but on the other hand also to avoid saturating the laboratories that are already under pressure due to the increasing demand of tests since the beginning of the second wave.
Employees have a right to refuse
In any case, a covid test cannot be imposed on employees by companies. “The employee can refuse it, this is a matter of privacy and physical integrity,” explains Guy Castegnaro, a lawyer specialized in labour law.
As a reminder, isolation is prescribed by the health directorate for 10 days after the beginning of symptoms. For asymptomatic individuals, isolation begins on the day of the test. During this period of being confined to ones home, all contact with others should be avoided and a surgical mask should be worn in the presence of others. Failure to comply with a solitary confinement may be punished with a fine.
This article was originally published in French on Paperjam.lu and edited and translated for Delano.