Compliance with self-isolation and quarantine measures: literature review

This literature review analyses UK and international research on compliance with self-isolation and quarantine regimes implemented during the current COVID-19 pandemic and previous infectious disease outbreaks.


This literature review has analysed research on the relation between self-isolation and quarantine regimes, and compliance. It has reported data from UK, European and non-European countries, and from the current and previous outbreaks of infectious diseases. The studies examined here show how isolation has posed serious challenges, especially given the length of the Covid pandemic, and the related impact of the surrounding uncertainty. Lack of knowledge on Covid-19 and self-isolation and quarantine regulations, financial difficulties, practical factors (such as living arrangements, caring responsibilities, ability to access food and other essential supplies, and other health conditions), psychological distress and communication inequalities have all been found to play a key role in determining whether or not people comply with self-isolation.

The review has also presented some of the lessons learned during the implementation of self-isolation and quarantine measures, both in the UK and in the rest of the world, and explored strategies and approaches to foster compliance proposed for the future by experts in different fields. Many of these suggest ensuring that people are motivated by perceived personal and sociocultural benefits, and are helped to overcome the many practical and social barriers to adherence that exist[160]. Others stress the importance of gaining and maintaining trust in science and confidence in the government's ability to adequately handle the crisis. Paying attention to these lessons learned may help to support continued isolation for those who must do so as the vaccination rollout continues in Scotland and isolation becomes more targeted.



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