COVID-19 and the Demand for Modular Quarantine Shelters

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In Southeast Asia, the total number of confirmed SARS-Cov-2 cases has reached almost 170,000 as of June 2020. The numbers keep rising even as governments, non-government organizations, volunteer groups, and ordinary people scramble to find solutions to address the threat of the global pandemic, now commonly referred to as COVID-19.

Brunei has reported a total of 139 confirmed cases, one of the lowest in the region, while the Philippines has almost reached the 50,000 mark. In China, the reported total number of confirmed cases has reached more than 80,000. The numbers are expected to rise as the world awaits the release of a safe, effective vaccine to counter the deadly virus.

Need for Isolation

Aside from beefing up the capabilities of hospitals to admit and provide treatment to Covid-19 patients, the demand for space, construction materials, technicians, and even a self-tapping screw supplier has become a priority.

Major efforts are now being exerted across Asia to build rows upon rows of temporary quarantine shelters for those undergoing quarantine. Health experts say these shelters will help isolate potential carriers of the deadly coronavirus, thereby preventing them from unwittingly passing on the virus to other people.

Studies show that the virus is spread when people come into contact with water droplets from a person who is COVID-19 positive. The water droplets come from a person who sneezes, coughs, or touches a surface with a hand that has been contaminated.Some claim that the virus is also spread airborne, but scientists are still doing experiments to test this theory.

Experts say that most people will exhibit symptoms of the infection within 11.5 days of exposure to the virus. The virus incubation itself will generally take about 5.1 days, based on studies made by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Given this vital information, strict protocols dictate that people who had come into contact with people who are confirmed carriers of the virus need to undergo at least fourteen days of quarantine. Coming into contact with those who have shown symptoms of COVID-19 are also advised to go on self-quarantine, as a precautionary measure.

In official government quarantine shelters, people are to be given medical care and attention aside from the usual daily necessities. In most cases, all supplies, services, and equipment to be used during the quarantine period will be funded by the government.

The question remains, are there enough quarantine shelters?

Quick Response Construction of Quarantine Shelters

Hospitals alone cannot accommodate all who want to be tested for the SARS-Cov-2 virus. More so, there is not enough space and only a limited number of beds in each hospital. Should a mass infection occur, the hospital facilities and medical personnel would struggle to attend to each and every patient or person that needs to be tested.

People who had been stranded due to the closure of airports, seaports, and bus terminals are also in dire need of assistance. Since many cities in Asia are on lockdown, other means of public transportation are unavailable such as trains, taxis, and other public carriers. These people, in most cases, would also have o be quarantined for a certain person specifically if they had exposed themselves to large crowds or had been staying inside or near air and seaports while waiting for the opportunity to travel to their destination.

The deployment of quick response teams to construct emergency quarantine shelters has been a timely and quick response from government and health authorities.These facilities are typically modular and can be constructed using simple tools and supplies. Governments with limited budgets have opted for wood-type shelters that have been fitted with beds and plastic sheets to provide a barrier between people who are awaiting virus test results or those who need temporary shelter before their return trip home. In some cases, the modular facilities are made of synthetic materials and even eco-friendly, recycled boards, roofs, and pillars.

Other Uses of Modular Shelters

Time and money invested in these quarantine facilities will not go to waste even in a post-COVID scenario. If stored properly, these modular structures can be reused or repurposed as temporary shelters during severe weather disturbances, especially when people are evacuated for safety. When properly fastened, these facilities can withstand typhoons and gusty winds. During earthquakes and other natural calamities, the facilities can be set-up as part of an evacuation area for survivors and those that lost their homes in the aftermath of a major disaster.

The construction of these structures will positively impact ongoing efforts to contain the pandemic. By adding to the available bed space and provision of medical attention, people can gain access to the proper health care they need. Whether in a time of COVID-19 or during natural disasters, the demand for these shelters will remain as we enter a new era of public life called the “New Normal.”

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