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Is Quarantine Home Appropriate for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19?

Anish Lamichhane

Once the coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic, the word ‘quarantine’ automatically shot up among vocabulary use worldwide. Quarantine is a life-saving period of necessary isolation of a person with a highly contagious disease or has been exposed to it. The dictionary meaning of quarantine is “a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to an infectious or contagious disease are placed”.

At the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic broke out in Wuhan, China. In the early stages, it was thought that the epidemic could be controlled; however, on January 20, 2020; a Chinese expert group confirmed that the spread of the virus is characterized by human-to-human transmission. The spread of COVID-19 cannot be prevented by simply wearing facial masks. The only way to control this disease is to cut-off the route of transmission. After the confirmation of human-to-human transmission, the Nepal Government announced national and international travel restrictions and population migration in Nepal from infected continues to be monitored. The entire country is actively trying to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

The first outbreak of COVID-19 in Nepal was reported in January 24, 2020; to the student who was migrated from the Wuhan, China. As the Nepal government is increasing the testing facility of COVID-19 throughout the country, 487 COVID-19 positive cases are reported so far. [12:20 PM, May-22, 2020] 

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were insufficient quarantine homes in Nepal. However, with the active efforts of the Nepalese government, quarantine homes are established in every province at different places.  Therefore, quarantine home poses significant role in the preventing the spread of COVID-19. Patient with COVID-19 must be kept in the isolation because they are prone to transmit the virus to other people via human-to-human transmission. This can lead to the entire household being infected with COVID-19. 

We can take Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Incident as an example. The cruise ship has 1337 rooms and was carrying 2666 passengers from more than 50 different countries, as well as 1045 crew members. When an 80- year-old passenger was diagnosed with COVID-19 on February 12, 2020; all passengers and crew (>3700 people) on the ship were ordered to remain on board in quarantine. By February 17, 2020; 1219 people on board had been tested for the virus, of which 355 were infected. Of the 355 confirmed patients, 111 were asymptomatic. The number of infected persons accounted for 29% of the total population on the ship. This result suggests that if both infected and uninfected people are quarantined in the same space, transmission cannot be prevented.

In these COVID-19 times, a person has to be in quarantine or self-quarantine for any of the following:
    Having travelled to a country that has reported a large number of coronavirus/COVID-19 cases
    Being in proximity to a person who has tested positive for Novel Coronavirus or suffering from COVID-19

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Quarantines are also for people or groups who do not have symptoms but were exposed to the disease. The quarantine keeps them away from others so they do not unknowingly infect anyone.

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