Quarantine for coronavirus? Why is it still top priority
New Delhi, Mar 09: The rapidly-spreading Coronavirus has affected more than one lakh people across the globe. How far it will spread, how many will get sick and die are still unknown.
In India alone, 42 people have been affected with coronavirus so far with the government taking several preventive measures such as scruitinising every foreign cruise ship at Indian ports, suspending visas and e-visas to people and screening of people with travel advisory to foreign countries.
China excluding the territories of Hong Kong and Macau where the outbreak emerged at the end of December had over 80,000 cases, of which 3,097 were fatal.
The WHO has asked governments to increase capacity to detect and care for patients and also to ensure that hospitals have necessary facilities and staff.
The global health body also urged countries to "develop life-saving medical interventions".
What is quarantine
As the countries are taking unprecedent measures to contain the novel virus with locking down of cities, screening of passengers, quarantine is still found to be the top priority of these countries.
Quarantine, exactly meand restriction of movement of persons suspected of exposure to a communicable disease. It is one of the oldest public health measures to control infectious disease outbreaks.
But maintaining the quarantining poses challenges, starting with the provision of food, fuel and medical care to million of people.
Till today, quarantine proves to be well-known strategies to control spread of any communicable disease is to prevent people's exposure to the infected patient.
One of the major reasons why China was able to contain coronavirus infection was its ability to put infected under quarantine.
In China, many affected cities have been turned into quarantines to contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak. Many other countries, includng India following the same method to contain the disease.
WHile in quarantines, one must make sure that they don't suffer mental agony. They should not be allowed to get stigmatised or made to feel that they are being treated like criminals.
Instances of quarantined
In 1918 flu pandemic in US, there was imposed a full quarantine of the islands from all incoming ships and successfully achieving zero deaths within the territory.
During World War I, more than 30,000 sex workers were quarantined amid rising of sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2003 SARS outbreak, about 7,000 people in Canada were placed in isolation to stop the spread the disease.
What is coronavirus?
According to disease experts, the novel coronavirus, named COVID-19, is mainly spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Also there is limited evidence that the coronavirus can spread through fecal matter from an infected person that wouls also transmit the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that the coronavirus can live on some surfaces for as long as 48 hours and potentially infect someone if the surface has not been cleaned and disinfected.