Isolation or quarantine? NCDC confused over word to describe DG’s condition

Isolation or quarantine? NCDC confused over word to describe DG’s condition

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) momentarily lost its path finding role in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis yesterday as it failed to work out the appropriate term to describe the  state of its Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu who had embarked on a self quarantine following a visit to China.

A national newspaper had reported that the Health Minister, while giving a situation report on  coronavirus in the country to the Senate leadership on Tuesday,  disclosed that the NCDC DG had been quarantined as a result of his recent China trip.

The Minister was also reported to have told the Senators that the action was now the standard practice for anyone coming into Nigeria to be quarantined for 14 days before mingling with other members of the public.

Dr. Ihekweazu however felt that the newspaper, by using the word “quarantine” had insinuated that he was infected and ill and subsequently in a tweet informed the public that he was only on “self isolation”  and was hale and hearty.

“The rumour that I am sick or in quarantine is obviously false,” he tweeted.

The NCDC followed suit with a Press Release to debunk the “rumour”

But the global health definition of “quarantine” and “isolation” shows  that the rejoinders by  NCDC and the DG were wrong and actually unwittingly portrayed the DG as infected with the deadly virus.

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) describes “Isolation” and “Quarantine” as two strategies used to control exposure to infected or potentially infected persons.  Both may be undertaken voluntarily or compelled by public health authorities.

Specifically, CDC further Says: “The two strategies differ in that isolation generally applies to persons who are known or suspected to have a communicable disease, and quarantine generally applies to those who have been exposed to a communicable disease but who may or may not become ill.”

For instance, CDC also illustrates that hospitals use isolation as a standard  procedure for patients with tuberculosis.

Clearly Dr. Ihekweazu who is healthy and only chose to stay away from the public because he visited China in his line of duty is on SELF QUARANTINE.

The media obviously got it right this time!

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