Where does the term 'Quarantine' come from? Image Credit: iStock

Dubai: With fear around coronavirus that has hit almost 80 countries. It has taken the lives of at least 3,500 people. The term "quarantine" has now become a buzzword.

Where does the term actually come from and what does it mean?

First usage

The word finds its origin in Italy, the country affected most by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe today.

The current definition of the term refers to the restriction on the movement of people and goods, which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests.

Image Credit: Gulf News / Jay Hilotin

The Latin term "quadraginta", which means "forty", is the origin of the Italian version of the word.

The term came from the 1377 Venetian policy of keeping ships away from plague-stricken countries, waiting at the port for 40 days to make sure that no remaining cases were aboard.

40 days

Earlier in the 1520s, the English word meant "period of 40 days in which a widow has the right to remain in her dead husband's house".

The word was first used as a noun in the 1660s. The definition that stuck and is used today, comes from the Italian phrase "quarantina giorni", which literally means "space of 40 days", from the word "quaranta", which means "forty", according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Also, in the early 15th century, the word "quarentyne" was used to describe the desert where Jesus Christ spent 40 days and nights fasting, according to Online Etymology Dictionary.

The word was used a verb in the 1880s as "quarantined" and "quarantining".

Latest quarantine measures

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, unfortunately, the word is everywhere in 2020.

In current day Italy, where the root of the word can be traced from, 16 million people in the north, including Milan, have been quarantined.

Reportedly, anyone who breaks the lockdown on entering select provinces of northern Italy faces three months in jail.

According to The Guardian, North Korea has reportedly released more than 3,600 people who were quarantined over fears of having contact with the virus.

At least six people were killed in the collapse of a hotel in the Chinese city of Quanzhou, Fujian province that was being used as a quarantine facility for people who arrived from areas hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Governments are also ordering individuals to go into self-quarantine.

Ever had a co-worker told to return home as he or she had the flu?

People are commonly told to stay home when they are sick to avoid spreading their germs and other falling ill.

The thought process with self-isolation or self-quarantine with the coronavirus is similar.