Quarantine is a state of isolation for people who have been exposed to contagious disease, or have come from infected places.

The word initially stood ‘for the period of isolation’. In 1377, the Venetian colony of Ragusa (now in Croatia) de tained travellers on a nearby is land for 40 days, or ‘quaranti giorni’ in Latin, from which the word quarantine was derived.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Italian states imposed strict quarantine regulations during the times of plague which was soon followed by other countries.

During the 18th century, the Hapsburg cordon sanitaire was operated by 1,00,000 peasants, with checkpoints and quarantine stations to prevent contagious people coming into Europe from the adjacent Ottoman Empire.

The word ‘sanitarium’ or ‘sanatorium’, which probably derived from this, currently denotes an establishment for the medical treatment of the convalescent, or chronically ill people.

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