What Is The Difference Between Self-Isolation, Quarantine And Distancing?

Channels Television  
Updated May 3, 2020
Workers wearing protective suits as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus pull passengers luggage at the New China International Exhibition Centre, near Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing on March 16, 2020. NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP.


In a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies authorized to handle COVID-19, have given some advisories including self-isolation, self-quarantine and social-distancing.

Though these advisories and measures have constantly been dissipated through various mediums, still, there are millions who do not understand what they really mean.

Here is what it means to self-isolate, self-quarantine and to keep a distance.


Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the spread of the disease.


Physical distancing means being physically apart. It is recommended that you keep at least one metre (3 feet) distance from others.

This is a general measure that everyone should take even if they are well with no known exposure to COVID-19.


Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not ill but may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The goal is to prevent the spread of the disease at the time when people just develop symptoms.