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What Are the Pros and Cons of Home Quarantine?

The government is planning to disallow home quarantine for asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases.

In a September 8 interview on CNN Philippines’ The Source, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said the government is looking to disallow home quarantine for individuals confirmed to have COVID-19 but show little to no symptoms.

Año said that the government is doing this to contain the deadly coronavirus, and is looking to implement it within the week. “Pinakamaganda talaga ay lahat ma-isolate natin, rich and poor,” the secretary explained. He added that exceptions will be made for special cases such as an elderly who has to be taken care of 24/7. (Read: Kris Aquino Shares 4 Things She Realized While in Quarantine)

However, just today, September 11, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the ban on home quarantine will be put on hold. It comes as the Inter-Agency Task Force still needs to await consultations with local government units (LGUs) before they decide on what their next step will be.

But what are the pros and cons of allowing home quarantine for confirmed COVID-19 cases? My Pope investigates!

Benefits of Home Quarantine

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A coronavirus disease 2019 treatment facility at Pier 15 in Manila inspected by officials on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (Photo from KJ Rosales / The Philippine STAR / OneNews.PH)

  • Less Burden on LGUs

If a ban on quarantine is implemented, LGUs would have to increase the capacity of their government-approved quarantine facilities, which may not be possible in some areas due to space or budget issues. By allowing home quarantine for mild cases, the LGUs need not to stress about where to confine or isolate these confirmed cases.

  • A Comfortable Environment for Patients

By staying home—even while being isolated—patients can still have a sense of comfort, as they are still with their loved ones. Some people also prefer staying in an environment they are used to and are comfortable in, rather than be in a facility full of strangers, not being able to see their families. Plus comfort and love play a role in the recovery of sick individuals. (Read: 3 Ways to Support a Friend Who Tested Positive for COVID-19)

Disadvantages of Home Quarantine

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Residents of Old Balara in Quezon City receive hygiene kits from personnel of Quezon City during their distribution last March 18, 2020. (Photo from The STAR / Michael Varcas)

  • Requirements May Not Be Met

The Department of Health (DOH) said that home quarantine may be allowed given that the patient has to have their own room and toilet, and is not living with an elderly or immunocompromised individual. All these requirements should be met for home quarantine to be allowed. However, not everyone has homes with multiple rooms or are not living with an extended family.

  • Higher Risks of Infection

According to the IATF, one of the “major sources” of COVID-19 infection in Cebu City, Bacolod City, and some areas in Metro Manila are “improper home quarantine and isolation.” It can be recalled that Cebu City had to remain under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) because of the spike in their number of cases.

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