In Practice

COVID-19: Mandatory institutional isolation v. voluntary home self-isolation

J A Singh


Since community transmission of COVID-19 became established in South Africa, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and who do not require hospitalisation have been permitted to self-isolate in their homes to reduce the burden on the health system. The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Province has since announced that self-isolation will no longer be permitted in the province. Instead, mandatory isolation in state-designated isolation sites would apply. This policy change marks a dangerous departure from the country’s prevailing position on home-based self-isolation and should not be replicated elsewhere.

Author's affiliations

J A Singh, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Public health ethics; Isolation; Health law; State of Disaster; Public health emergency; Pandemic

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(6):453-455. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i6.14840

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-04-23
Date published: 2020-04-23

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