Difference Between Isolation and Quarantine

These two terms Isolation and Quarantine are not new for us considering the ongoing pandemic situation. People are getting instructed to get in Isolation and Quarantine. Lots of people get confused between these two terms.

On one hand, Isolation is done when there is the certainty of the sickness, but on the other hand, Quarantine means not necessarily to have the sickness and its uncertain.

Isolation vs Quarantine

The main difference between Isolation and Quarantine is that Isolation is basically intended for the people who are actually sick whereas Quarantine is for the people who may or may not be sick. The people who got isolated are certain to spread the disease if they move. Quarantine is a situation that may have the possibility of spreading the disease to other healthy people.

Isolation vs Quarantine

Isolation basically helps to separate sick people from healthy people so that they don’t get sick. It restricts the movement and it’s a routine procedure that is usually done in hospitals and medical facilities. When people get any contagious disease, it is recommended to be in Isolation, to prevent other people from getting infected.

Quarantine is generally done to see people if they become sick when exposed to some certain kind of contagious disease. The people who get quarantined are not necessarily sick. But they are kept separated and restricted to lower the possibilities of these diseases from spreading, in case the person becomes actually sick.

Comparison Table Between Isolation and Quarantine

Parameters of ComparisonIsolationQuarantine
DurationIsolation needs to be done for at least 10 days. It means to stay indoors until the condition gets improves.It generally needs to be done from 12-15 days giving it enough time for the systems to get visible.
PurposeIt happens when people get sick due to some contagious disease. They are then kept separated from other people to stop the spreading.It is done to prevent other people from the disease as a prevention act. The people may or may not get sick.
Targeted peopleIt is for the people who already got exposed to the disease and have got sick.It is for the people who have been exposed to the disease but do not show any symptoms.
LocationIt is generally carried out in hospitals and medical facilities.It can be done by staying at home or any location until there is no contact with other people.
RisksIt is a matter of great risk if an isolated person is not restrictedIt has a much lesser risk because there is uncertainty of the disease.

What is Isolation?

Isolation is generally for people who is been diagnosed with a certain kind of disease and showing symptoms. It becomes a necessity when people are sick to prevent other healthy people to become sick. It carries a higher risk of spreading the disease. When people get isolated, they are kept in a separate place in the hospitals or medical facilities to keep them away from any kind of contact from any healthy person.

It is carried out for at least 10 days when the person started to get improve and fewer symptoms are shown. Isolation can be more serious than being quarantined because the infected people are more likely to spread the disease. Therefore proper equipment and special care are given to such people. The infected person is checked at regular time intervals in order to understand the situation of severity.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantined people are exposed to infectious diseases and they have not shown any symptoms. So, they are advised to stay away from other people and be quarantined at their home or any other location. The people who are quarantined are restricted from any kind of movement. They are advised to wear protective clothing and they are generally able to do most of the things but staying indoors only. They are provided with all the necessary things like sleeping accommodation, meals, and other necessities. 

They are occasionally provided the guidelines for monitoring their health, checking on their temperatures, and then reporting it to any health authority. 

It can be used when there is a sudden outbreak of any disease or an epidemic which can be on a wider scale and definitely at the time of pandemic when there is a global outbreak of any disease. They carry a lesser risk of spreading disease because there is no uncertainty of the presence of the disease.  The duration is mostly 12-15 days for any symptoms to develop.

Main Differences Between Isolation and Quarantine

  1. The first difference between Isolation and Quarantine lies in the targeted people.The people who actually have symptoms are kept in isolation whereas the people who are exposed to the disease and do not show any symptoms are kept in Quarantine.
  2. Isolation is generally for at least 10 days when the conditions get to improve whereas Quarantine is for 12-15 days giving enough time to show any symptoms.
  3. Isolation is done when it is certain that one is carrying a disease, whereas Quarantine is just  preventionary act when it is not certain if the person is infected or not.
  4. Isolation is generally carried out by medical facilities and hospitals whereas One can quarantine himself by staying at home or another location , until there is negligible contact with outside.
  5. Isolated people have the greater risk to infect anybody, whereas, Quarantine people have the much lesser risk to infect other people.


Both Isolation and Quarantine serve the same purpose that is to stop spreading the disease. And both need proper care to get themselves healthy. Isolation is just reserved for the people who are sick and have shown symptoms and quarantine is more of preventive action to protect other people from catching any disease.

Since both are done in order to protect other healthy people, it is necessary for people to take proper care and measures so that the disease cannot spread to other people. 


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-15346-5_9
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc7235486/

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