The guide to perfect quarantine and perfect isolation according to Sciensano

Ln the Sciensano press conference, interfederal spokesperson Yves Van Laethem recalled how quarantine or isolation should take place.


Quarantine, by definition, is someone who is not sick, at least in their early 40s, and who has been in high-risk contact with someone.


A person goes into quarantine when they have had contact with someone positive for coronavirus. A contact is when we have spent at least 15 minutes less than 1.50m from the infected person – not necessarily 15 consecutive minutes – but a total of 15 minutes over a day.

A risky contact is when both people were not wearing a mask or only one was not wearing a mask. If the people were both wearing a mask, then this is a low risk contact.

A quarantine must also be carried out upon returning from a trip abroad in certain areas and if one has had activities that lend themselves to risk. It begins on the day of arrival in Belgium.

The risk is 15-30% (one in three people) of catching the virus from contact with an infected person. You can be infected without knowing it, because at the start of the infection, there is not enough viral load for the disease to be detected. A test carried out at this time even if it is negative cannot replace a quarantine.

90% of people who are going to be sick are sick within 10 days. People who are infected even if they are not sick transmit the virus.

Why ?

The importance of quarantine is to break the chain of transmission so that the virus does not spread in society.

Who ?

The infected person is in quarantine, not the whole family (people who live under the same you).

If someone is sick in the family cell, the whole family then goes into quarantine.

If you experience symptoms during quarantine, you contact your doctor and then begin isolation.

What duration?

The basic duration of the quarantine is 10 days from the last contact with the infected person to which will be added as a precaution for the famous 10% who develop the disease after 10 days, four days of protection. We are no longer in quarantine but we are still very careful, we wear the mask, we have good hand hygiene, we do not see people at high risk (an elderly person in particular).

Comment ?

We stay at home and we only go out for essential things (shopping, pharmacist, doctor).

We wear a mask outside and we also try to wear it within our family unit.

We do not receive his close contact, we are not going to visit someone.

We monitor his temperature, ideally twice a day.

Measures are applied to reduce the risk of transmission (ventilate well, clean all conventional contact points well, try to use different toilets and different toilet articles, eat separately not at the same time as other members of the family who live with you).


The isolation lasts 7 days and is applicable to people who are either sick or asymptomatic but in whom they have been shown to be positive for covid.

What duration?

When you are positive, you secrete the virus at the onset of the disease. Isolation is therefore 7 days from the onset of symptoms or 7 days from the positive test if one is tested as asymptomatic. Not everyone goes out after 7 days, it takes 3 days without fever and an improvement in symptoms before resuming a “normal” life.

Comment ?

You must apply strict hygiene rules (do not go out for shopping unless you are alone), contact your doctor before going there.

You should avoid contact with people who live with you, stay in a separate and ventilated room as often as possible.

The mask should be worn in the presence of other people.

If a high-risk person lives with an infected person, consider accommodating that person elsewhere.

Who ?

The family unit will have to go into isolation in parallel with the isolation of the person positive for covid for 10 days after the 7 days of isolation of the infected person. We add 10 days to the 7 days, so it is indeed a quarantine of 17 days for the members of the family who live under the same roof as the person infected with the covid.


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