Home quarantine guidelines for close contact with potential COVID-19 patients

For people who came into close contact with COVID-19 patients, experts suggest a 14-day medical observation. 

During the observation at home, it is necessary to keep in touch with medical professionals, understand the key points of disease observation and nursing, and master hand washing, ventilation, protection and disinfection measures for family prevention. 

The following are suggestions provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for home observation.

– Place people who might have come into close contact with COVID-19 patients in a well ventilated single room and refuse all visits.

– Limit their movement and minimize shared space. Ensure that shared spaces, for example, the kitchen or bathroom, are well ventilated by keeping windows open.

– Household members should stay in a different room, or if that is not possible, maintain a distance of at least one meter from them. 

– When entering the living space of a potential COVID-19 patient, the caregiver should wear a medical mask fitted tightly to the face. Masks should not be touched or handled during use. If the mask gets wet or dirty with secretions, it must be changed immediately. Discard the mask after use and wash your hand thoroughly after removing the mask.



– Wash your hands using soap and water before and after preparing food, before eating and after using the toilet. 

– When using soap and water, using disposable paper towels to dry hands is desirable. If not available, use dedicated cloth towels and replace them when they become wet.

– Materials used to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing can be discarded directly, or in the case of handkerchiefs, washed properly with ordinary soap or detergent and water after use.

– Avoid other types of possible exposure to potentially infected relatives or contaminated items in their immediate environment. Avoid sharing toothbrushes, cigarettes, utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths or bed linen. 

– It is recommended that individuals clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as bedside tables, bed frames, and other bedroom furniture daily with disinfectants containing chlorine and peroxyacetic acid disinfectants. Bathroom and toilet surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.

– Wash clothes, bedclothes, bath and hand towels, etc. used by people who came into contact with COVID-19 patients using regular laundry soap and water or machine wash at 60-90 °C with common household detergent and dry thoroughly. Place linen used by them in a laundry bag. Do not shake soiled laundry and avoid direct contact with one's skin and clothes.

– Use disposable gloves and protective clothing, for example, plastic aprons, when cleaning or handling surfaces, clothing or linen soiled with body fluids. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after removing gloves.

– If the relative under COVID-19 observation develops any suspicious symptoms, including a fever, cough, pharyngitis, chest distress, dyspnea or shortness of breath, loss of appetite, weakness, poor spirits, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, palpitation, conjunctivitis, and mild muscle pain in the limbs or lower back, they should seek medical advice immediately. 

Stories in this series were contributed by the Tencent Medpedia medical team and are written and reviewed by medical experts from China's top hospitals. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or go to the hospital.