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Home » The Difference Between Self-Isolation, Social Distancing & Quarantine

The Difference Between Self-Isolation, Social Distancing & Quarantine

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Do you know the difference between self-isolation, social distancing and quarantine? Knowledge is power, so let's apply what we know and work to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  ATM with social distancing note

Although the country is receiving regular instruction and updates from government about what to do and what not to do regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, there are still many people who are uninformed about the situation, or who have misconceptions regarding the actions we are required to take during this time.

Especially in the light of our extended lockdown, we need to work together as a country and follow the precautions, regulations and advice that has been disseminated nationally. Failing to comply could have devastating repercussions for our country.

With this in mind, let's look at the basics of how we can all help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

self-isolation social distancing quarantine

Know The Difference

What Is Self-Isolation?

Self-isolation is often confused with quarantine but these two are different and apply to different situations. Self-isolation is the act of staying indoors when you have contracted the SARS-COV-2 virus. The purpose of this is to prevent the spreading of the virus to other people.

You will be required to self-isolate in the event that you have been exposed to COVID-19, believe you have the virus or have tested positive.

The self-isolation period following exposure to the virus lasts throughout the duration of your illness and for up to 14 days after you are no longer showing symptoms. Self-isolation is ideally conducted at home, but may also take place in an assigned facility or a hospital.

During this period, you will wear a mask if possible and maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other members of your household.

What Is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is the act of seclusion or distancing from others, and is done by avoiding any form of physical contact with people outside of your household. The optimal distance for the purpose of protecting others from the transmission of COVID-19 is 1.5 - 2 metres, and should be observed every time you leave your home for essential purposes such as visiting the doctor, pharmacy or purchasing groceries.

Although it is named social distancing, this does not mean that you cannot keep in touch with the outside world - you will just have to do so digitally! Staying in contact with your loved ones via social media, now is the best time to remind them that you love them.

If you do get bored, check out some ways you can maintain good mental health during the lockdown.

What Is Quarantine?

You will observe a quarantine period of 14 days if you have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not yet begun to show symptoms. The measures implemented during quarantine are essentially identical to those in self-isolation and will last throughout the duration of the quarantine period.

self-isolation social distancing quarantine

Why It's Important To Exercise Self-Isolation, Social Distancing And Quarantine

Considering the times we're living in, social isolation, distancing and quarantine should not be taken lightly. The current lockdown restricts our movements, but these measures are vital for our safety as a nation.

Understanding The Lockdown

The country is currently under lockdown and we need to understand the process and why it is important to abide by the given regulations. The lockdown has been implemented for the purpose of flattening the curve and this can only work if we work together to make sure that we stay at home.

To South Africa

We hope that you all abide by the laws set in place by our government. Please try your best to keep observing the measures implemented by government and stay indoors until the lockdown ends. We can get through this as a nation if we all work together!


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