NFL players can return to play from a positive Covid-19 test after five days of quarantine, regardless of vaccination status under the terms of the latest health and safety protocol update from the league, with the move informed by new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

Effective this week and regardless of whether a player is vaccinated, a return is possible five days after a positive test and no further testing is required.

Players, coaches and staff may all return without restrictions – provided the individual is symptom-free.

However, vaccinated players may test out of protocol with two negative tests that can be taken at the same time or separately.

Unvaccinated players, coaches and staff have no option to test out and must isolate until the five-day quarantine period ends.

At that time, each individual is responsible for self-reporting any symptoms after the five-day quarantine period ends.

Furthermore, an individual must clear at least 24 hours since any fever without the aide of medication; other symptoms must be "resolved or improved"; individual must be cleared by team doctor in consultation with ICS and NFL; and any local regulations or requirements have been satisfied, NFL Network reported according to a league-issued memo to all 32 teams.

Once cleared, all individuals must wear a mask for five days after returning, except when participating in practice or a game.

Quarantine length for unvaccinated players testing positive had been 10 days regardless of the severity of symptoms.

The change comes as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who has not been vaccinated, was placed on the Covid/reserve list.

The timing is such that he would be cleared to play Sunday – if he doesn't report symptoms common with COVID-19 – in a game with playoff implications against the Las VegasRaiders.