COVID-19: Home Quarantine Procedures for Individuals under Observation, Showing Symptoms of Disease

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The number of cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Philippines grew to 24 on Monday night.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of emergency, with the Department of Health recommending quarantine to the public in order to prevent congesting facilities.

Who’s expected to endure a controlled home quarantine?

—People who have a history of travel to other areas of China and/or a history of exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days, regardless of nationality, race or age.

—Any person, regardless of nationality, race or age, who exhibits fever or any symptoms of lower respiratory disease and has a history of travel to other countries with a confirmed case of COVID-19, even without any history of exposure.

According to the DOH guidelines, those undergoing quarantine at home are not allowed to leave their rooms / homes where they are quarantined ‘ until they have been confirmed by a local health official to have completed the 14-day quarantine requirement. ‘ Persons under surveillance (PUM) should have ‘ initial contact with the Local Government Epidemiological Surveillance Unit.

Where are the PUMs to be quarantined?

—PUMs should be put in a well-ventilated room with toilet and bathroom, and their activities should be contained inside their quarters.

—PUM needs to move around the house and share space with others? Ensure open spaces are well ventilated. DOH advises leaving the windows open.

—DOH also states that people stay at least 1 meter away from the PUM and sleep in a separate bed.

The mask can only be used for a duration of 8 hours. It is not allowed to be washed or reused.

—After removing the mask, a person should wash his hands with water and soap or rub his hands with 70% alcohol or any hand disinfectant.

—DOH helps PUMs to clean and disinfect items they have encountered (e.g. tables, door knobs, bed frames and other furniture) routinely and often with household disinfection.

Bathrooms and toilets should be disinfected once a day with the same diluted bleach solution.

—Clothes, bedclothes and towels should be washed with standard laundry soap or 60-90 C washing machine and sun-dryer. DOH noted that it is not appropriate to “shake soiled laundry.”— People should wear disposable gloves while washing or touching surfaces and must perform hand hygiene before and after cleaning.

What’s the right food handling for home quarantine PUMs?

—Doh said that the assigned caretaker would serve food trays only up to the door of the room.

—After the PUM finishes its meal, the plates should also be picked up at the door of the house, while wearing disposable gloves to avoid contamination. Afterwards, hand hygiene is required.

—Utensils and dishes used by the PUM can be washed with soap or detergent and can be reused and not discarded immediately.

—Other household members should not share food, dishes and drinks with the PUM.

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