What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

How do you reduce the spread of COVID-19?

In addition to taking the right precautions, you can use this easy breakdown to define the difference between quarantine and isolation:

Ways to reduce the spread of illness

Line drawing showing a person quarantining in their home


Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

Line drawing showing a person with COVID-19 isolating from people to reduce the spread


Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from people who are not infected.

Last reviewed: 
October 2020

Interested in using our health content?