Instructions for Persons Under Home-Based Quarantine

Posted On: March 22, 2020

Quarantine is used when a person is possibly infected with a disease but is not yet symptomatic.  Isolation applies to patients with symptoms of infectious disease.

A medical officer is authorized to take such measures according to powers vested under Part VII of the Public Health Act, Cap 111, Sections 67 – 83 in regards to protecting the population from Communicable/Infectious Diseases, in this case COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Individuals that have been in high-risk areas for the past 14 days or have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual need to be quarantined.

At onset of home-based quarantine, the following should be reviewed with the person concerned:
1. A healthcare professional provides detailed information on infection pathways and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection. The information can also be found on the website of the Ministry of Health & Medical Services.
a. Contact and droplet contamination spreads the disease. This means that there is risk of spreading the virus when an infected person sneezes, coughs or blows their nose, and a healthy person inhales these droplets or they land on their hands and they then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
b. Quarantined individuals need to pay special attention to hand hygiene, especially when interacting with others is unavoidable.

2. A person under quarantine should stay in their home and have contact with as few people as possible.
a. Quarantined individuals must not leave their home unless necessary, e.g. to seek necessary health care services, after consulting with medical officer. Routine medical or dental check-ups, attending physiotherapy or visits to medical specialists that are not related to the COVID-19 virus are not considered essential health care while in quarantine and all such services should be rescheduled.
b. Quarantined individual must not use public transport or taxis. If she/he needs to seek necessary health care services, she/he may use a private car if she/he, or someone that is also quarantined in his household, are able to drive.
c. Quarantined individual must not attend school or work with other people. A medical certificate (sick sheet) from a health facility might be needed. Employers have been instructed to be considerate if an employee needs to be quarantined.
d. Quarantined individual must not attend any gatherings, whether it concerns their work, family or social life. For example, work meetings or gatherings, union meetings, confirmations, funerals, home-based social gatherings, choir rehearsal, concerts, etc.
e. Quarantined individuals must not visit fitness centres, swimming pools, theaters, cinemas, shopping malls, or other places where people come together.
f. Quarantined individuals must not themselves go out for supplies, i.e. to the pharmacy, the grocery store, the post office, banks, etc. Quarantined individuals must not stay in shared condominium space, i.e. stairwell, laundry rooms, or shared yards/outdoor areas.
g. Quarantined individuals should not welcome guests in the home during quarantine.
h. Quarantined individuals can go out to a balcony or a private garden. If there are other people there, the quarantined individual must keep at least 1 meter distance.
i. Quarantined individuals can go for a walk but need to keep at least 1 meter distance from other pedestrians.
j. Quarantined individuals can go for a drive using a private car but must not interact with others in close proximity, e.g. at drive-thru restaurants.
k. Quarantined individuals can take out domestic trash, but need to consider hygiene, such as handwashing before and after opening the garbage chute / trashcan / trash room and preferably wipe handles with 70% alcohol or other disinfectants after contact.

3. Others exposed in the same household at the same time can be quarantined together in the same place.

4. It is preferred that individuals in the household that have not been exposed, not be in the same place as the quarantined person.
a. If non-exposed individuals do not want to leave the household they should limit contact with the quarantined person as much as possible (at least the quarantined person should have her/his own bathroom, sleep in a private bedroom or at least a separate bed). If the quarantined individual then falls ill, the other household members must be quarantined.
b. If it is confirmed that the COVID-19 transmits from asymptomatic individuals, those that have been in contact with a quarantined individual must also be quarantined at least until the quarantine of the first individual ends.

5. Contact with other people must be strictly limited. Therefore, a quarantined individual may need assistance with necessities.
a. If some members of the household are quarantined after staying in high-risk areas or have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual, other household members can continue with their daily tasks and provide necessities for the quarantined individual.
b. If the whole household is quarantined, friends or relatives can assist with necessities and leave at the front door.
c. If delivery of food and other necessities is available in the area, this service can be utilized during quarantine.

6. It is important to practice routine hygiene measures to reduce the risk of infection.

7. Quarantined individuals should measure and record their body temperature daily.

8. If a quarantined individual gets symptoms of the COVID-19 infection, she/he should contact the following numbers: Central 2219905, Eastern 2219906, Western 2219907, Northern 2219908
a. Quarantined individuals should report all symptoms of illness, whether they believe they are relevant to COVID-19.
b. Fever, respiratory symptoms, and especially cough and difficulty breathing, are the main symptoms of the COVID-19. Weakness and musculoskeletal pain can be the first symptoms, possibly without fever, but are also common with fever. Common cold symptoms (runny nose etc.) are less common in individuals with the COVID-19 infection than in other human coronavirus infections. Gastrointestinal symptoms and sore throat are less prominent with the COVID19 infection, but do not exclude an infection.

9. If a quarantined individual suffers from an acute illness and needs ambulance transport to the health facility, Fiji CDC should be notified of a possible COVID-19 infection.