Firass Abiad, Director of Lebanon’s main coronavirus hospital, RHUH, in a series of tweets on Thursday stressed that self isolation for individuals who retract COVID-19 virus is key to break the chain of transmission and help control the virus spread.
“Self isolation of individuals who test positive, and their close contacts, is a cornerstone of the efforts to control Covid in society and break the chains of transmission. However, rates of self isolation in many countries have been low,” said Abiad.
He added that people were unwilling or unable to self isolate because “isolation can lead to financial loss. Sick leave may not be compensated; many are self employed. Some have low awareness of the guidance or how the virus is transmitted, or consider a covid diagnosis to be a stigma. People without symptoms are less likely to isolate.”
The RHUH director stated that self isolation after a positive test or contact is “mandatory” in most countries, which led many individuals to avoid testing altogether. “This is pervasive in countries with low public trust in authorities, and in absence of support for people required to isolate,” he said.
“Support can be financial, or as employment benefits. People living in crowded homes need isolation centers. Technology, or soliciting the help of local authorities, can be used to monitor self isolation. Municipalities can also play an important role in raising awareness,” explained Abiad.
“Controlling community spread depends on test, trace, and isolate. Vaccination will not change that. A better understanding of the reasons people are not self isolating is important. One thing is clear, without proper support and local monitoring, compliance will remain low, he concluded.