Please take note of the updated Covid-19 information

Understanding COVID-19 Terms: Social Distancing, Quarantine and Isolation

Understanding COVID-19 Terms: Social Distancing, Quarantine and Isolation

21:21 29th March 2020 | COVID-19

COVID-19 Coronavirus Reduce the spread stay safe be protected Social Distancing Quarantine Self-Isolation flattening the curve

What is social distancing?

While it may be disappointing to hear that so many sports events, cruises, festivals and other gatherings are being cancelled, there is a public health reason for these measures. These cancellations help stop or slow down the spread of disease allowing the health care system to more readily care for patients over time.

Cancelling events that are likely to draw crowds is an example of social distancing. Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.

Other examples of social distancing that allow you to avoid larger crowds or crowded spaces are:

  • Working from home instead of at the office
  • Closing schools or switching to online classes
  • Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person.
  • Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings

What is self-quarantine?

People who have been exposed to the new coronavirus and who are at risk for coming down with COVID-19 might practice self-quarantine. Health experts recommend that self-quarantine lasts 14 days. Two weeks provides enough time for them to know whether or not they will become ill and be contagious to other people.

You might be asked to practice self-quarantine if you have recently returned from travelling to a part of the country or the world where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, or if you have knowingly been exposed to an infected person.

Self-quarantine involves:

  • Using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently
  • Not sharing things like towels and utensils
  • Staying at home
  • Not having visitors
  • Staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household
  • Once your quarantine period has ended, if you do not have symptoms, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to return to your normal routine.

What is isolation?

For people who are confirmed to have COVID-19, isolation is appropriate. Isolation is a health care term that means keeping people who are infected with a contagious illness away from those who are not infected. Isolation can take place at home or at a hospital or care facility. Special personal protective equipment will be used to care for these patients in health care settings.

What is “flattening the curve?”

Flattening the curve refers to using protective practices to slow the rate of COVID-19 infection so hospitals have room, supplies and doctors for all of the patients who need care.

A large number of people becoming very sick over the course of a few days could overwhelm a hospital or care facility. Too many people becoming severely ill with COVID-19 at roughly the same time could result in a shortage of hospital beds, equipment or doctors.

On the other hand, if that same large number of patients arrived at the hospital at a slower rate, for example, over the course of several weeks, the line of the graph would look like a longer, flatter curve.

In this situation, fewer patients would arrive at the hospital each day. There would be a better chance of the hospital being able to keep up with adequate supplies, beds and health care providers to care for them.

With the global number of COVID-19 cases still rising, many governments have issued quarantine orders and travel bans.

Entry and Exit Requirements for Nigeria:

  • On March 19, the Federal Government of Nigeria restricted entry into Nigeria for travellers from the following high incidence countries: China, Italy, Iran, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Effective from Saturday, 21st of March 2020 for an initial period of four weeks. These are countries with over 1,000 cases domestically. The Federal Government has also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from these countries with immediate effect. Please visit NCDC’s Public Health Advisory web page for the most up-to-date information.
  • Travellers should arrive in Nigeria with their yellow World Health Organization Immunization Record and will be subject to all preexisting health requirements such as proof of yellow fever vaccination.
  • Travellers may also undergo temperature checks upon arrival. Concerns on primary screening can trigger secondary screening of high risk or ill passengers.
  • Upon arrival, travellers will also be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their current state of health, recent travel locations, recent sick contacts, and current contact information while in the country.  This will be reviewed upon entry, and persons with positive screening results will be taken aside for further evaluation.

Quarantine Information

NCDC’s Public Health Advisory states the following for traveller’s to Nigeria:

  • Travellers without symptoms on departure but become unwell in transit are advised to self-report to the Port Health Services on arrival
  • Travellers from countries with ongoing local transmission*, but who show no symptoms on arrival should self-isolate at home for 14 days after arrival
  • If travellers from countries with ongoing local transmission* feel ill with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, please:
    • Observe self-isolation immediately by staying indoors and avoiding contact with people
    • Call the NCDC 07032864444 or WhatsApp 07087110839 or 080097000010 (toll-free). 
    • Avoid self-medication

Referral and transfer arrangements with local hospitals may be initiated if passengers are ill.

The key takeaway from all of this? Social distancing is a powerful disease control tool, but only if we all participate in our little way.


To keep you safe, we are taking consultations on Skype, Whatsapp and Telephone from across the country and diaspora!
Are you and your partner booked to see a doctor, but you would prefer to make it a video call?

We are here for you.

Call:    01 631 0092 / +234 (0)1 631 0092

Whatsapp: +234 810 460 7791

Click here to Book an online appointment today

Sign Up For Our Newsletter