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Coronavirus: What is the difference between self-isolating and quarantine?

Coronavirus has now been confirmed in 182,596 cases around the world and that figure is continuing to grow. Countries have closed borders, imposed strict restrictions on movements and have requested residents self-isolate.

The UK imposed stricter restrictions on Monday, detailed in a press conference given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson said: “Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.”

The Prime Minister urged people to stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and “other such social venues”.

Where possible, people should work from home, and mass gatherings would no longer have support from emergency workers.

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But what is the difference between self-isolating and quarantine?

Isolation is a method used to separate an ill person from those who are healthy.

As coronavirus can be spread from person to person, isolation restricts the movement of someone who is ill to prevent the spread elsewhere.

Quarantine is used to restrict the movements of a well person who may have become exposed to a communicable disease.

This is to see whether they will become unwell and prevent further spread of the virus.

Some people who have coronavirus do not show any symptoms, and so while they do not feel unwell they can still spread the virus to other people.

What are current Government guidelines on coronavirus quarantine and self-isolation?

In the first of daily press conferences on the spread of coronavirus, Mr Johnson and his scientific advisors laid out plans going forward.

The Prime Minister said the disease – named COVID-19 – was now “approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve” meaning cases could double every five or six days if stricter measures were not implemented.

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He said: “Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.

“We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.”

Mr Johnson said the advice to avoid unnecessary social contact was “particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.”

He added further information would be published for the most vulnerable, including those with serious underlying health conditions, in the coming days.

The Government said this would ensure they were “shielded” from the virus for a period of 12 weeks.

Social distancing aims to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected.

This aims to slow the spread of the virus, prevent further deaths and delay the peak of the virus.

The Government says to

Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;

Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible; 3.Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information;

Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs

Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

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