Three public health tools could slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The tools are isolation, quarantine, and social distancing.


Isolation is separating those with confirmed infections from other people so that they can get better without infecting others. Isolation is very important when no vaccines exist. A key to the success of isolation is to pair it with contact tracing to identify other individuals who contracted the virus.


Quarantine is the strict movement restriction and isolation of people who might have been exposed to an infection. Quarantines can target some individuals who have traveled to affected countries. It may also involve large groups such as schools or villages. Quarantine requires not only taking the decision but also enforcing it.

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Social Distancing

Social distancing is a bundle of tactics meant to keep people from congregating in large crowds to slow the spread of a virus. These aim to keep human beings around 2 meters (6 feet) apart from one another. Social distancing requires commitment from the whole community.

These measures include postponing or canceling mass gatherings like sporting events, concerts, or religious gatherings. It could also mean closing schools and universities.

When it comes to self-quarantine at home, you should stay away from other people in your home. A separate room and bathroom are recommended when possible.
  • Limit contact with your pets.
  • Do not accept visitors unless it is necessary.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Avoid sharing household items.
China's aggressive measures have slowed the coronavirus. The most dramatic measure was the lockdown of Wuhan and nearby cities. At least 50 million people were under a mandatory quarantine. The government traced contacts of confirmed cases. In Wuhan alone, more than 1800 teams of five or more people traced tens of thousands of contacts. But an expert says that these measures may not work in other countries. Deep individual and collective commitment is key to controlling the outbreak.

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