During the coronavirus pandemic, all of Dubrovnik citizens and media remembered that the first known quarantine was in Lazareti, right outside the City Walls of Dubrovnik and recently, New York Times wrote about it too under the title ''Croatia's Dubrovnik, Home to Ancient Quarantine Facilities''.
-Just outside the majestic walls of Croatia’s medieval citadel city of Dubrovnik lies a cluster of small stone houses, the Lazarettos of Dubrovnik, best known as an art and clubbing hub and a tourist attraction – the article says, adding that as the coronavirus spreads across the globe, many are being reminded of their original purpose centuries ago as an isolation zone for arrivals to port city who might be carrying infectious diseases.
They talked with Ana Bakija-Konsuo, a physician and one of the authors of a book about Lazareti.
Bakija-Konsuo said that Dubrovnik, on the Adriatic coast, was the first city in Europe to set up a quarantine system, in 1377, as protection from leprosy, a bacterial illness that affects the nerves, skin and the respiratory organs. Initially, newcomers were kept on nearby islands in wooden huts that were later burned down.
They also talked to Dubrovnik historian Ivan Vigjen who said that the complex was built in the 17th century when authorities decided to set up the quarantine area closer to the harbor. The complex at the time was the biggest state investment in public health. As he explained, the authorities were very effective in keeping the diseases away. Throughout the history, the rules of quarantine were unchanged.
According to the article, those rules envisaged that travelers and tradesmen coming from regions affected with leprosy, plague or other diseases must stay at least 20 days in isolation. The time limit later was extended to 40 days, or ‘quaranta’ in Italian, giving the practice its future name.
You can see the original article here.