Quarantine Matters – Australia.

Quarantine, one of the ways of restricting the spread of infectious diseases has a long history from the Black Death to Coronavirus.  Few things listed below about the struggle to keep pestilence at bay.

  • The term quarantine meaning forty days, originally referred to the isolation period imposed during the 14th century on ships arriving at Venice before passengers and crew could disembark. At that time it was not known how long it took for bubonic plague symptoms to develop-the 40-day system proved able to offer protection for port dwellers. Samuel Pepys, naval administrator writing in 1663 noted that ships from plague bound ports had to spend 30 days in quarantine.
  • The number 40 has significance in many religions. The Bible says it rained for 40 days and 40 nights before the Great Flood.
  • Enforced leisure or now work from home is said to have enabled geniuses to do their best work. Newton abandoned his Cambridge studies in 1665 due to plague and worked on Calculus, Optics and Theory of  Gravity. Shakespeare is supposed to have written King Lear and Macbeth during the period when his theatre was closed during plague outbreaks.
  • Wuhan was placed in lockdown on Jan 31, 2020, and final restrictions were due to be lifted on April- so the city’s traditional “40 days ” of quarantine will by then have stretched to 71 days.

Quarantine In Australia.

– Quarantine in Australia began with the arrival of First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and since then remain public health pre-occupation. The fragmented nature of Australian Colonies and their quarantine techniques were not then of great public concern.

– The time taken on the voyage from Europe, England or America ensured that any infectious disease incubating among passengers or crew would have been broken out by the time ship arrived in Australia and could be detected and dealt with. Quarantine measures were generally able to prevent the diseases from penetrating the port population.

  • In 1789 one year after the arrival of the First Fleet outbreak of Small Pox among Aboriginals was reported. It was then not linked to First Fleet. Small Pox vaccination was imported from England and the population vaccinated.
  • The first line of defence was established in 1804 when vessels from New York were ordered into quarantine due to infectious distemper.
  • In 1805 Richard and Mary ship was quarantined.
  • From 01 July 1809, the Federal Quarantine Service began operations in Australia under the Department of Trade and Customs.

Australia issued a 50c Stamp on 08 Jul 2008 to commemorate Centenary of Quarantine in Australia.

In the present Fight against COVID 19, Quarantine and self-isolation shall matter.