Thousands who may have been exposed to the coronavirus have been asked to seclude themselves. It’s harder than it sounds.

Stay home unless you must see a doctor. No trips to the office or school, no shopping. If you must come out of your room, wear a mask. And don’t share towels.

If you are among the thousands of Rwandan now self-quarantined because of possible infection with the coronavirus, these are a few of the new house rules, courtesy of your local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Self-quarantine and self-isolation are different. The first measure is for the large numbers of healthy people who may fall sick following possible exposure. The second is for people who are ill with the coronavirus — they are a danger to their family and visitors, and must be watched carefully in case they deteriorate.

Right now, Rwandan in some states are being asked to stay home if they have returned from parts of China and Iran; if they have symptoms, like fever and a dry cough, and have spent time in other countries or on cruise ships; or if they are ill without any known source of infection.

Home quarantine can be unpleasant and will probably last for two weeks, which is the presumed incubation period for the virus. It is especially challenging if you have young children or elderly relatives to care for, or live in cramped quarters with a lot of roommates.

Unanswered questions

No one pays you for self-quarantine, although administration officials say they are trying to find ways to compensate people without sick leave for wages lost because of the coronavirus.

Not everyone can work remotely, and a two-week absence from work can take an enormous financial toll on hourly wage workers who have to clock in and show up to get paid, or who are part of the gig economy with no single employer.

We ought to have a social compact: If you’re sick, whether you’ve got Covid-19 or not, you should separate yourself from society,

The Express News Team “We as a nation owe you the right to a humane period of separation, where we meet your essential needs like medicine, health care, food and sick pay.”

The Express News Team

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