MANILA, Philippines – As soon as the Department of Health (DOH) reported a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, many Filipinos found themselves wondering if they should self-quarantine as some of the patients had no history of travel abroad and could not trace any contact with confirmed cases.
Some also panicked and swarmed supermarkets, buying months worth of food and other grocery items, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 49. A 67-year-old Filipino patient died in Manila on Wednesday, March 11.
Several Philippine officials announced that they have gone into self-quarantine after being exposed to people who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus. (LIST: Philippine government officials under quarantine for coronavirus risks)
When and why should you self-quarantine?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said people who are at high risk of getting sick from COVID-19, which include the elderly aged 60 and above, and those with weak immunity or with serious medical conditions should practice social distancing.
The general consensus among medical professionals and experts is to self-quarantine if you:
- came in close contact with someone who tested positive
- came in close contact with someone who has traveled to China, Italy, South Korea, or Iran
- have a travel history in these areas with widespread cases of COVID-19
Going on self-quarantine or social distancing is important in what experts call “flattening the curve,” which is less about preventing illness but more on slowing down the rate at which people get sick. In simpler terms, measures such as social distancing, quarantine, and isolation can contribute to efforts to contain the pandemic’s spread.
Our #FlattenTheCurve graphic is now up on @Wikipedia with proper attribution & a CC-BY-SA licence. Please share far & wide and translate it into any language you can! Details in the thread below. #Covid_19 #COVID2019 #COVID19 #coronavirus Thanks to @XTOTL & @TheSpinoffTV pic.twitter.com/BQop7yWu1Q
Our #FlattenTheCurve graphic is now up on @Wikipedia with proper attribution & a CC-BY-SA licence. Please share far & wide and translate it into any language you can! Details in the thread below. #Covid_19 #COVID2019 #COVID19 #coronavirus Thanks to @XTOTL & @TheSpinoffTV pic.twitter.com/BQop7yWu1Q— Dr Siouxsie Wiles (@SiouxsieW) March 10, 2020
What happens during self-quarantine?
If you meet the general criteria set by experts but don’t need immediate medical attention, you are encouraged to self-quarantine.
This step will not only help slow down the spread of the virus, it will also keep hospitals from getting overburdened and will allow them to channel their resources to those who require immediate attention the most.
If you are on self-quarantine at home, monitor your symptoms carefully and be prepared to call the Department of Health (DOH) hotline in case your symptoms worsen. To prevent others from catching the virus, cover your mouth when you cough and your nose when you sneeze, and regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If available, it is advised that you designate a room and a separate bathroom in your house for sick people. Practicing good hygiene also requires you to avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household.
The quarantine period differs from person to person, depending on the severity and stage of the disease. This is why people under quarantine are advised to stock on supplies that could last from two weeks to a month.
What should you stock up on?
Health and government authorities have advised against panic buying or hoarding food and other grocery items enough to last 3 months, saying this may be unnecessary and would put those with less means at a disadvantage. Sudden high demand for goods also drives prices.
Here are some items that you should stock up during self-quarantine:
Bath and hygiene
- Hand soap
- 30-day supply of medication
- Laundry detergent
- Hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, feminine wash, etc
- All-purpose cleaning spray
- Dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, and oats
- Snacks with longer shelf life
- Canned goods, soup, stews
- Vegetable and fruits
- Meat and poultry
Health and government authorities have urged the public to stay informed and calm as they work to address the pandemic. – Rappler.com