Abrigo: Quarantine through the years

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ISOLATIONS or a process of separating infected people to prevent the spread of diseases has been practiced as early as 7BC as recorded in the book of Leviticus chapter 13. But the isolation especially for lepers, usually lasted only to seven days. On the seventh day the priest, would check the sore and determine whether to extend the isolation for another seven days.

The first isolation that qualified to be called quarantine was during the “great deluge” recorded in Genesis chapters 6 to 9. Noah, his family and genera of animals were naïve to the will of God to aboard and were held inside the ark for 40 days and 40 nights. It was then when God disinfected and scrubbed the earth from all sorts of abhorrence and filthiness including idolatry. But that process of purging was not construed as “quarantine” until the similar process of isolating few individuals from the populace re-occurred circa 14th century.

During that epoch of bubonic plague, the passengers and crew of the ships from the infected ports were required to anchor at proximate distance from the shore to isolate themselves for 40 days before they were allowed to dock at the port of Venice, Italy. It was then that “quarantine” was introduced in the modern lexicon.

Quarantine derived from a Venetian dialect “quarantena” or from Italian words “quaranta giorni” which literally means “forty days”. Through a 40-day isolation or quarantine, the spread of communicable disease became stationary and the Black Death ended.

So much to etymology; today, with the universal wave of coronavirus that has no antidote, humanity has only two options, either to recover or left alone to death; and second is prevention, to which the government subscribed. We are all mandatorily encouraged to stay at home. The mandate may be humorous if taken superficially; but as we listen to the intuitive, the directive is moral that must be imposed severely; except for few exemptions if only to save this civilization.

Let us cooperate with the medical practitioners, the delegated authorities who by “Hypocrite’s Oath” obliged themselves in the forefront while the country is in the state of health emergency. They are empowered to detain, medically examine, initiate appropriate responses and conduct supportive care or conditionally release individuals as health warrants.

Like Noah and his family, they obeyed God and stayed safely inside the ark. The good thing for us is that the quarantine today is not as lengthy as 40 days in the past. Let us conform to the guidelines for prevention. By then, we will be saved from the global flood of coronavirus.


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