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Is Quarantine The Same As Isolation? Let’s Find Out!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, certain new words have entered our vocabulary. Two such words are ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’. These terms have been extensively used whenever measures to stop the spread of COVID19 are discussed. All of us have heard or read about the need to quarantine or to self-isolate/isolate someone. 

But these two words do not mean the same and cannot be used synonymously. Let us see what each of these terms implies.


The word originates from ‘quaranta giorni’ (Italian for ‘40 days’). According to historical records, quarantine was first implemented in the 14th century when ships were made to wait at anchor at the ports of Venice for 40 days before sailors and passengers were allowed to come ashore.

 This practice came into force to prevent people who could be possible carriers of any disease from spreading the disease to healthier people. 

The usage is the same to this day. When people are suspected to have been exposed to a contagious disease, they are kept separate from the healthy population. After the passage of the said period, if there are no symptoms, the quarantined people can resume their normal lifestyle. 

Ever since the onset of COVID-19, quarantines have been implemented in India and internationally, especially during the COVID waves, whenever people travelled from one destination to another. Quarantine is specifically recommended to people who have flown in from international locations.


Isolation is secluding a person who has contracted a disease or is showing symptoms of it. Currently, any person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has all the symptoms of COVID-19 self-isolates so that the others under the same roof do not contract the disease.

The difference between quarantine and isolation:

Quarantine is done before people test positive as a precautionary measure. Even if people are not infected, they will need to undergo quarantine if they have been exposed to the disease or been somewhere where the disease is raging on.

Isolation happens only after the appearance of the symptoms or if the diagnostic test reveals that the person is indeed infected.

Every person in every state should voluntarily go into self-isolation if he or she tests positive.

Quarantine and isolation are both means to keep people safe from COVID-19. That is why if you have been travelling during a  COVID wave or if you think you may have contracted the infection, then seclude yourself to keep your loved ones and everyone else safe. Only through responsible actions, prevention measures and vaccination can we free the world from the clutches of COVID-19.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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