In Practice

Isolation and quarantine in South Africa during COVID-19: Draconian measures or proportional response?

K Moodley, A E Obasa, L London

Abstract


In the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, extraordinary containment measures must be implemented. These include both isolation and quarantine, either on a voluntary basis or enforced. In the transition from voluntary to mandatory isolation, conflicts arise at the intersection of ethics, human rights and the law. The Siracusa Principles adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1985 and enshrined in international human rights legislation and guidelines specify conditions under which civil liberties may be infringed. In order for isolation processes in South Africa to claim legitimacy, it is important that these principles as well as national laws and constitutional rights are embedded in state action.


Authors' affiliations

K Moodley, Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

A E Obasa, Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

L London, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Isolation; Quarantine; Ethics; Human rights; COVID-19

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(6):456-457. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020v110i6.14842

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-04-23
Date published: 2020-04-23

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