The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence

Samantha K Brooks, PhD , Rebecca K Webster, PhD, Louise E Smith, PhD, Lisa Woodland, MSc, Prof Simon Wessely, FMedSci, Prof Neil Greenberg, FRCPsych, Gideon James Rubin, PhD, ‘The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence’, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30460-8, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8, The Lancet (February 26, 2020)

Recently, quarantine has been used in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. (…) This Review suggests that the psychological impact of quarantine is wide-ranging, substantial, and can be long lasting. (…) If quarantine is essential, then our results suggest that officials should take every measure to ensure that this experience is as tolerable as possible for people. This can be achieved by: telling people what is happening and why, explaining how long it will continue, providing meaningful activities for them to do while in quarantine, providing clear communication, ensuring basic supplies (such as food, water, and medical supplies) are available, and reinforcing the sense of altruism that people should, rightly, be feeling. (…) If the quarantine experience is negative, the results of this Review suggest there can be long-term consequences that affect not just the people quarantined but also the health-care system that administered the quarantine and the politicians and public health officials who mandated it.