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What is self-isolation, and everything else you need to know

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Self-isolation requires a patient with coronavirus, or a person who has been exposed to an infected person, to stay at home for 14 days.

Australians across the country are currently in self-quarantine or isolation in an attempt to mitigate the risk of the coronavirus COVID-19 from turning into a nationwide epidemic.

But what does home isolation actually mean, and what is it like for the people who are currently quarantined within their houses or apartments?

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation requires a patient with coronavirus, or a person who has been exposed to an infected person, to stay at home for 14 days.

That means not going to work, not going to the shops, not going to the park or the beach or the movies.

A negative pressure tent outside the University of Utah's hospital, designed to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.

Self-isolation is about minimising close or physical contact with a non-infected person.

An ideal case of self-isolation is one where the person is not in the same room with anybody else at any time.

When do I need to self-isolate?

If you have been in mainland China, Iran or South Korea in the last 14 days, you should self-isolate.

The 14 days should begin from the day you left that country.

The coronavirus as seen under a microscope.

NSW Health also recommends monitoring your symptoms if you have been in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Thailand or Singapore.

You should also practice "social distancing", ie – avoiding shaking hands, kissing or hugging other people, staying away from crowds and trying to keep a 1.5m distance away from others.

It's also advisable to avoid small gatherings in enclosed spaces and not to visit vulnerable people, ie- those in aged care facilities and hospitals.

If you become unwell, you should immediately self-isolate.

If you have had close contact with a person diagnosed with coronavirus, you will also need to self-isolate.

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The global spread of coronavirus.

How to self-isolate

Self-isolation requires you to stay at home and avoid all close contact with others.

If you need food or other essentials, you should ask family and friends to bring it, or have it delivered.

Regardless of who is bringing you supplies, they should be left on the doorstep to prevent transmission.

It is wise to advise them that you are in self-isolation.

Because of an unusual delay in supermarket home deliveries, it is wise to order your supplies well before you run out.

It is also recommended that you exercise regularly at home to reduce stress and anxiety.

What happens if I live with someone?

Self-isolation gets much more complicated if you are living with someone else.

People in self-isolation are urged to stay in their rooms and to avoid being in the same space as their housemates or family members.

It is best to eat meals in your room, and to clean surfaces of your bathroom and kitchen every time you use it.

Towels, toiletries and other household items should not be shared, and the usual recommendations about hand-washing are especially important.

NSW Health recommends using a face mask whenever you are in the same room as someone else, and to avoid shared or communal spaces.

"High-touch" surfaces like doorknobs, counters, tabletops, bathroom fixtures, phones, keyboards and tablets should be cleaned at least once a day with disposable gloves.

How to wash your hands with soap and water

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-what-is-self-isolation-how-to-guide/c909f022-ce6c-4b3c-aa2c-1cd48b4d59a9

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