Quarantine is where animals, people or an area of land are isolated to prevent the spread of disease or pests. Countries often stop animals and plants from being brought in from elsewhere, unless they are known not to carry a disease.


The word "quarantine" comes from quarantena, the Venetian language meaning "forty days". This is because of the 40-day isolation of ships and people practiced as a measure of disease prevention related to the plague.

It is different from medical isolation, which is for people who have been infected with the disease.

The quarantining of people often raises questions of civil rights. Quarantine can have bad psychological effects on the quarantined. These include post-traumatic stress disorder, confusion and anger.


Self quarantine (or self-isolation) is a term that became popular during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, which spread to most countries in 2020. Citizens were either encouraged or forced by law to stay home to lower the spread of the disease. Some countries went into lockdowns as a form of quarantine.

As of 1 April, more than 280 million people, or about 86% of the population, are under some form of lockdown in the United States, 59 million people are in lockdown in South Africa, and 1.3 billion people are in lockdown in India.

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Uses material from the Wikipedia article Quarantine, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.