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    STUDIA BIOETHICA - Issue no. Special Issue / 2021  

DOI: 10.24193/subbbioethica.2021.spiss.67

Published Online: 2021-06-30
Published Print: 2021-06-30
pp. 105


ABSTRACT: Parallel Session I, Room 1 The outbreak of a new coronavirus disease (later named COVID-19) was first reported in China, and it then spread to other countries, including Asia and Europe. In a bid to contain the further spread of the disease, several government resorted to large-scale quarantine, notably in the city of Wuhan in China (more than 11 million people), a cruise ship of Yokohama in Japan (around 3,600 people), and several towns in Northern Italy (about 50,000 people altogether). While the WHO praised China for its attempt to stop the spread of the virus by quarantine, there were also many criticisms of such quarantine as it involved putting severe limitations on the liberties of individuals inside the cordon. In this presentation, we would like to enquire which conditions need to be met for the quarantine to be ethically justified. First, we will briefly discuss the definition of quarantine and similar terms, such as isolation and social distancing. Second, we will tease out the criteria for ethical quarantine by critically examining the literature on the ethics of quarantine, most of which are based on the experience of SARS and Ebola. Third and the last, we will put these criteria to test by applying them to the examples mentioned above of quarantine in China, Japan, and Italy. This kind of exercise is necessary for us to prepare for the next emergence of new infectious diseases.
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