What are the dos and don'ts while under quarantine?

The CDC says that implementing a quarantine “separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

That’s pretty self-explanatory, but there has been some confusion surrounding what is and isn’t allowed while under quarantine. We’ll discuss that here.

Before the first case of COVID-19 was announced in South Africa, it was advised that those who have recently travelled to a high-risk country or spent time on a cruise ship would also need to be placed under quarantine.

Now that President Cyril Rhamaphosa has implemented a national lockdown, and travelling is prohibited, the list has been shortened. 

But when should someone be quarantined?

We know that one of the best ways to prevent the transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus is to limit face-to-face contact with others and stay at home for at least 14-days (patients become symptomatic within 1-14 days of contracting the virus).

Quarantine is necessary if –

  • You recently came into close contact (within 2 m) with someone who is either a confirmed COVID-19 patient or someone displaying symptoms of the virus.
  • You live with, are intimate with or care for someone who is either a confirmed COVID-19 patient or has symptoms thereof, and you have consistently followed the recommended precautionary steps to prevent transmission of the virus.
  • You begin to show cold or flu-like symptoms.

Someone who suspects that they might be infected should phone their healthcare provider who will advise whether a COVID-19 test is needed. 

Here are some dos and don’ts during the quarantine period:

  • Do wear a face mask when coming into contact with others.
  • Do wash your hands regularly and practice proper coughing etiquette
  • Do monitor your symptoms closely during this time and update your doctor should anything change.
  • Do stay in a separate area of the house if you live with other people
  • Don't leave your quarantine location for any reason other than to be tested for COVID-19, in which case you are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. 
  • Don't use public transportation or go to the shops. Instead, arrange for the groceries to be delivered and avoid contact with the person delivering the goods. 
  • Don't have friends or family with you in your isolation room or home, unless they have been approved by your doctor to provide care.

Remember, it’s normal to feel anxious, bored, lonely, sad or even depressed during this time so be sure to stay in contact with friends and family over the phone or email.

You can also contact the National Crisis Line - 0861 322 322 for advice on the way forward or phone one of the other essential contact numbers if you need help in another area. 

The CDC provides valuable information on the subject. Read