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What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Self isolation and quarantine are both practices used to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. You need to do this if you have symptoms of coronavirus. This is to stop other people from getting it.

You will need to self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus
  • before you get tested for coronavirus
  • while you wait for test results
  • if you have had a positive test result for coronavirus

Self-isolation does NOT mean popping to the shops and keeping a distance from other people. Stay at home if you need to self-isolate. It is ok for people to drop necessities to your home – but ensure that you are not in contact with these people.

DO

Stay at home, in a room with the window open.

Keep away from others in your home as much as you can.

Check your symptoms – call a doctor if they get worse.

Phone your doctor if you need to – do not visit them.

Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue – clean your hands properly afterwards.

Use your own towel – do not share a towel with others.

Clean your room every day with a household cleaner or disinfectant.

Don’t

Do not go to work, school, religious services or public areas.

Do not share your things.

Do not use public transport or taxis.

Do not invite visitors to your home.

Quarrantine

This is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, the practice of a quarantine specifically involves:

… the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

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