COVID-19 Notes on Community Quarantine

International Center for Migration, Health and Development

On March 11 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak was recognized by WHO as having become a pandemic. The rate of spread of the novel coronavirus has taken many countries by surprise, and preventing and containing any further spread of the virus has now become a major public health priority for countries everywhere.

Some countries, such as China, Italy and Spain have seen fit to place communities, towns, cities and/or entire regions, that are estimated to have become foci of the disease, under quarantine. Quarantining communities is not a new strategy in epidemic situations, but it is never a straightforward or easy decision to implement and maintain. At this moment, moreover, the value of community quarantine in delaying the spread of coronavirus, has not been established. These Notes are thus in no way meant to promote the implementation of community quarantine. They have been prepared simply as an aid for national or local authorities that may be considering the introduction of such a measure, and seek to help them by highlighting some of the issues that will need to be taken into account.