Centralised quarantine

All people who 1) test positive for coronavirus, 2) have coronavirus symptoms, 3) are close contacts of either of the above, and 4) as the virus dies down domestically, those entering from abroad, should be required to quarantine in *central locations* for at least 14 days. Currently, there are a lot of empty hotels that could be funded by the government this way, or by taking over empty gyms and other empty large public institutions and turned into field hospitals. Food and other amenities should be provided by the government to these people. This is an alternative to the current policy that just recommends "self-isolation" at home.

Why the contribution is important

This is a policy that has proven successful across many non-European countries, such as Taiwan, China, South Korea and Vietnam, in one form or another. They have virtually eliminated the virus domestically.

1) Eliminates home infection, unlike self-isolation, particularly amongst those families who live in cramped accommodation, cutting down on spread
2) Encourages more people to isolate when they have the disease, instead not complying because they might infect their families
3) Centralised location means you can bring in medical staff to monitor these people over time, and catch them quickly before their oxygen levels deteriorate, meaning they can be treated more successfully in the hospital later on if needed.
4) Those medical staff will need less training than trying to expand ICU capacity, as was done with the Nightingale hospitals, meaning this capacity can be expanded faster
5) Stamping out the virus this way means that you can more quickly remove the lockdown, meaning the economy can recover to a better state a bit faster and more people can see their loved ones.

Here is a paper explaining the Chinese experience and why it worked in more detail:


by ajd253 on May 05, 2020 at 06:05PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 2.3
Based on: 3 votes


  • Posted by JohnT May 05, 2020 at 18:17

    If I had symptoms and was expected to quarantine in a gym or a town hall I would not report my infection. Neither would many other people.
  • Posted by CocoTC12 May 05, 2020 at 18:20

    A form of centralised quarantine as suggested should be considered in those who do not obey self-isolation instructions. There needs to be a mechanism for ensuring that those who should be self-isolating e.g. due to symptoms or contact, are actually doing so, as is being done in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
  • Posted by Colette May 05, 2020 at 18:40

    Centralised quarantine for people coming into U.K. should be carried out as risk of catching virus on a flight or ferry had to be high. Otherwise quarantining at home would be better to encourage people to report symptoms and allow tracking to be carried out.
  • Posted by ajd253 May 05, 2020 at 23:13

    The arguments about people not obeying this measure are in exact opposition to the experience of those countries with centralised quarantine. The measure is proven to work. Secondly, it actually does the opposite because a lot of people right now, told to self-isolate, either find it hard to comply or even fail to comply, purely because they don't want to go home and endanger their families. Half the point of this measure is precisely to stop people spreading it to their families and improve take up of isolation measures.

    That said, even if the government offered *voluntary* centralised quarantine, this would still be better than the status quo, where people who want to quarantine away from their families, aren't allowed to do so and given little support.
  • Posted by ajd253 May 05, 2020 at 23:16

    Colette, your point about tracking doesn't make any sense - if someone has been quarantined in a central location, it is easier to track their contacts. Mainly because they definitely will have had fewer of them, but also because you can monitor them more precisely and keep tabs on their progress, informing you better about whether this person really did have coronavirus/really was infectious.
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