Confused about Coronavirus, COVID-19 and quarantine? Read this explainer


The steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases has created panic among the public. Health authorities are taking all preventive measures to stop the Coronavirus by keeping suspected virus-carrying people in quarantine and advising people who returned from the virus-affected countries to remain in isolation.

Media reports are replete with terms like COVID-19, Coronavirus, quarantine and isolation these days. If these medical jargons confuse you, read this explainer.

COVID-19 and Coronavirus

COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease was first appeared in Wuhan province in China in 2019.

COVID-19 disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The virus belongs to the coronavirus family. All the viruses in the family have crown-shaped spikes on its surface.

The name of the disease was given by the World Health Organisation.

Some viruses in the coronavirus family infect both the people and animals. But SARS-CoV-2 infect only humans.

MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are the other members in the family. These two viruses had caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), respectively, in the past.

Fever, cough and breathing trouble are the most common symptoms of COVID-19.

Infected people may develop only mild symptoms in the beginning. But people with other medical complications may show severe symptoms, such as pneumonia, which can be fatal.

In such cases, these patients are either isolated or quarantined.

Quarantine and isolation

Quarantine is the restriction on the movement of people or goods to prevent the spread of a disease. It is used to check whether people exposed to communicable diseases have actually contracted it.

People who are quarantined will not be allowed to visit public places and use public transport.

Isolation, on the other hand, is used to separate patients (who have contracted communicable disease) from the public at large.

Self or home quarantine means staying at home for two weeks and avoiding contact with other people.

Those who visited countries or places affected by COVID-19 should inform their travel details with health department. This will help the officials to isolate patients or keep those who are not showing any symptoms in quarantine.