How to quarantine: A guide for morons.

Due to my extensive and generally worthless over-education, I'm an expert at quarantine. I know how to do it good, so that people do not die. Apparently, the New Zealand government do not know how to do it. That is odd, but... This is not the first time I've encountered such bewildering incompetence from people who should know better... It's probably the most potentially lethal time this has occurred, though I am not certain. This is not what I want to spend my time on - I prefer mountain bikes, the Battle of Britain, and reading and writing about ACM Sir Keith Park... This is just what I happen to be an expert on... And someone needs to be an adult and say this... So here I am.

Here is how to quarantine!


  1. Stop calling it “managed isolation”. It is quarantine. 

  2. Every person who enters New Zealand spends two weeks, or longer, in quarantine.

    1. The only way they leave quarantine is after two weeks, when it has been confirmed that they are free from disease.

  3. Stop doing it wrong. You are doing it wrong.

    Multiple urban hotels are a terrible option for quarantine. These are not designed, nor are they well-suited to being used for quarantine. They are;

    1. Too close to other people. 

    2. Too many doors in and out.

    3. Too many facilities, too far apart. 

    4. Too hard to fence them off.

    5. Too difficult to monitor those in quarantine as hotels are designed for guest privacy. 

    6. ...I could go on.

  4. Start doing it better.

    1. Fewer facilities. Higher security. Better management.

    2. Only isolated hotels or facilities.

    3. Emulate how quarantines have been enacted since Biblical times.

      1. For example, islands. Or...

  5. Buy and use cruise ships for quarantine.

    1. There’s hundreds around the world's oceans, sitting idle at anchor, with nowhere to go, and no real prospect of a future where cruises are a thing. These are likely  fairly cheap right now.

    2. Cruise ships are self-contained floating hotels with an enormous moat. As such, they are extremely well suited for use as quarantines.

      1. Used as quarantine, the demographic, population density, and behavioural patterns that made cruise liners disastrous in the initial SARS-CoV-2 outbreak can be, or inherently are, controlled. 

        1. They have a bad reputation; as cruise liners.

        2. Repurposed as quarantine facilities, they are ideal.

      2. ​​Moor the cruise ships at a secure port. That’s most of the ports. Those have good fences.

    3. Have one long gangway. That’s all.

        1. One way on, one way off each ship.

        2. Guard the absolute shit out of the gangways.

        3. Have many cameras, guards, fences, you name it - everything - to protect and monitor the gangway, as well as all sides of the ship.

        4. Blockade the area in which the ship is moored to prevent any other vessels from approaching it. We have a damn navy. Use our damn Navy.

    4. Minimise movement of personnel onto and off the cruise ships.

      1. Have stringent identification and security checks. Individual, daily-issued photo-ID cards for any non-quarantined person who goes onboard.

      2. Give these workers all an individual passphrase and a duress code, every day.

      3. Presenting the ID, as well as successfully providing the passphrase, is the only way these individuals are able to go aboard the vessel. They are the only way they can get off the vessel.

      4. If they state the duress code, this triggers an immediate halt to all movements/rapid lockdown of the area.

      5. Ideally, track all such personnel with GPS bracelets at all times.

      6. Ideally, do not mix people who arrive on differing dates. This may mean the purchase of three ships. That would allow for one to accept arrivals for a period of three days, and then at that point, the two week period commences for the entire vessel. 

      7. The only reasons any quarantined person leaves quarantine early is if;

        1. They require emergency or urgent medical care.

        2. They are diagnosed with Covid19

          1. These people are moved to a dedicated, highly secure quarantine facility, dedicated to caring for positive cases.

          2. Ideally, this facility will be another ship, located nearby, with equally strict security and monitoring.

          3. Any patients requiring hospital care go to dedicated isolation wards in hospitals.

        3. They are dead; their remains are transported to a predetermined, highly competent, highly secure morgue.

        4. There is an emergency evacuation, to the fenced port area.

        5. There can be no other exceptions. Ever.

        6. This may mean longer than two week quarantine duration.

      8. Cruise ships have nicer amenities than hotels.

        1. People in quarantine on cruise ships can expect to have more freedom than those in hotels. Cruise ships have nicer amenities and facilities, as they are designed for people to have enjoyable holidays onboard. Many could continue to be used, safely, by people in quarantine. 

        2. We need to be helpful and nice to people in quarantine. Quarantine is not a punishment; it is an unfortunate necessity.

        3. However, we must punish anyone who attempts to escape severely.

    5. Arrivals pass through customs/screening at the airport. They get onto a highly secure bus immediately. The bus is escorted, by Police convoy, to the ship. The arrivals go on the ship. They remain on the ship until the quarantine period is over.

    6. Minimise the movement of materiel off the ships.

    7. Test everyone on the vessel. A lot. Keep doing the individual tests at days 3 and 12… But also test everyone aboard, daily, via pooled PCR of oropharyngeal swabs.

      1. Test the sewage generated on the ship via PCR. Do this daily. 

      2. Test anyone who goes aboard for essential reasons and leaves again, very regularly. Ideally, minimise their going aboard/leaving the vessel. 

  6. Stop "winging it". I know; it’s fun to “wing it”. I normally advocate and enjoy winging it myself. However, when you are trying to prevent a deadly disease from entering a nation, you need to have a plan. 

    1. If you do not have a plan,​ or if your plan is stupid (like NZ's current... situation...), you are playing Russian Roulette, with other people's lives. 

    2. Do not do that. 

  7. This may contain grammatical errors, other flaws... And it's definitely a harsh critique, with swearing in it... Well, sorry... I wrote it in a hurry...

    But you know what I didn't do?


    Also this is my website and you are not the boss of me. 


Dr Jim schofield - 8/7/2020