Isolation vs Quarantine

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease, or people showing symptoms of a contagious disease, from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

There is a clear difference between isolation and quarantine and this should not be confused.

Quarantine is a preventative measure, used as a border control process to prevent COVID-19 from reaching the Island community through early detection of a possible infected person in new arrivals to St Helena. A 7 day period of quarantine is mandatory upon arrival to the Island for vaccinated arrivals to St Helena. Any arrivals who have not been fully vaccinated will be required to complete a 10 day quarantine period.

Self-Isolation is used when a person presents symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19. This person would be asked to isolate themselves from other persons to prevent spread of the virus.

Self-Isolation, how it works and steps to make it easier?

If you have been asked to self-isolate due to possible COVID-19 infection (i.e. displaying symptoms of new continuous cough or high temperature or have been in close contact with a possible COVID-19 infected person) you should remain at home for 10 days until you are well. Self-isolation can be difficult and frustrating. These simple steps will help to make self-isolation easier:

  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
  • Ask your employer, friends and/or family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • Stay at least two metres (about three steps) away from other people in your home if possible
  • Sleep alone, if possible
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or antibacterial hand sanitiser
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
  • Think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period
  • Ask friends or family to drop off anything you need. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect
  • Make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media
  • Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, exercising, gardening and watching films. When you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing

If your symptoms worsen during self-isolation or are no better after 10 days, contact the St Helena Coronavirus/Flu hotline on 25707. For a medical emergency dial 911. You might need to be transported to the Medical Facility at Bradley’s for medical assessment and assistance.

What happens if I breach quarantine or self-isolation?

Both quarantine (whether at a facility, your home, or another property approved by a Proper Officer) and self-isolation are legal requirements.

This is a very serious matter, and there is a maximum penalty of a fine of £5,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both, in place to deter people from failing to comply with the requirements of the regulations.

If, at the time of committing the breach, the person knew that he or she was infected or contaminated with coronavirus, the maximum period of
imprisonment increases to 12 months.

See Public Health (Prevention of Formidable Diseases) (Coronavirus No. 2) Regulations, 2020.

St Helena Government Press Office

Telephone: 22470