Central Quarantine or Medical Isolation Packing List

So you have gotten a phone call from the CDC or maybe Baymax is at your door advising that you are a close contact, or perhaps have tested positive for Covid-19. You have a bit of time to pack a bag, but aren’t sure what you’ll need. We’ve compiled a list based on the experience of families who have already been through it and are now passing along time tips. Thanks to the QuaranTeam groups and Quarantine Alumni Groups for the input!
This isn’t a complete list, but the aim is to set expectations for what type of items you will want for an extended stay at a central facility. Some families have found that having some of the items prepared in advance and set aside is helpful for easing anxiety. It’s advised to prepare a bag of essentials for each adult and assume you will be put into separate spaces.


  • Passports, or any other identity documents
  • Charging cables (and maybe a power strip for simultaneous device charging)


You will get fed, but the quality and the meals will vary. Be prepared that you may not have access to deliveries or take away food. Packing every meal isn’t practical, but adding supplemental food can help morale. Fiber from fresh fruit and veg may be limited, and refrigeration options aren’t guaranteed.
  • Fresh fruits if you have any on hand
  • Dried fruits
  • Instant noodles
  • Crackers, wraps, spreads
  • Coffee / tea
  • Cereals
  • Powdered milk
  • Cereal / protein bars
  • Canned tuna, baked beans, other ready to eat canned items. Don’t forget the can opener.
  • Bag clips, ziploc bags, or rubber band to seal opened food.
  • Anything you can add to rice! Salt and pepper, sauces, dried herbs – lemon pepper, Old Bay, pesto, olives, sundried tomatoes, dried parmesan, kimchi, seaweed. The possibilities!!!
  • ALL THE SNACKS, especially for kids:
    • Fruit/meal pouches, teething snacks
    • Baby food and baby milk

The Daily Necessities

These things can help you feel more in control of your space, and help you manage your environment. There won’t be cleaning services or other amenities available.
  • Cutlery per person, spoon, fork (knife may be confiscated, so don’t pack anything you treasure)
  • Cup, a travel mug with a lid is ideal for confined spaces as accidents happen and cleanup is difficult.
  • Plate or bowl with sealable lid
  • Additional Sheets for each bed
  • Pillowcases
  • Hand towel, bathmat
  • Antibacterial surface wipes and spray with cleaning cloths
  • Kitchen towels, or tea towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Tea kettle (usually provided, but may be small or dirty)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Tissues, some toilet paper
  • Small rug for bedside
  • Clothes hangers
  • Scented candles / room spray (non essential, but nice)
  • Eyemask and earplugs (depending on confinement environment)

Personal Toiletries

Pack for a loooong holiday with no hotel amenities or maybe a camping trip.
  • Hand wash / body soap
  • Hair care products
  • Tooth brush / paste
  • Deodorant
  • Moistuiriser! Face, hands, body.
  • Face mask (self care / entertainment, non essential)
  • Vitamins (C and D)
  • Personal first aid, band aids, antiseptic etc, electrolytes
  • Feminine hygiene products!!


Keep it simple, and comfortable, no one wishes they had extra clothes, but usually extra other things. The weather is warming up, but evenings may still be cool, and you may not have much control over your ambient environment. Pack light and warm; layers are great.
  • Flip flops / slippers
  • Underwear, socks
  • PJ’s
  • Quick dry clothes (wool, synthetic) 2-3 sets
  • Quick dry towel

Keeping Entertained

It’s going to be different for us all, so here are some suggestions.
  • Laptops and HDMI cable
  • Extension cords
  • Iphone or tablet holder
  • Devices and or gaming consoles with chargers
  • Blue tooth speakers
  • Headphones (noise cancelling can be a real benefit)
  • Musical instruments (if this makes you feel good)
  • Make sure movies are downloaded
  • A stuffed toy, everyone needs a teddy sometimes
  • Books and magazines
  • Board games, cards, puzzles (a mat to roll it away, it will be a small space)
  • Stationary, paper, colorful tape, glue, markers, string, balloons- supplies that can be used to make an obstacle course or play activities
  • Whiteboard markers for writing on glass or tiles
  • Water crayons for kids in baths / showers
  • Stickers, legos, coloring books, favorite toys to keep busy
  • Yoga mat, jump rope, small balls, small racquets, Velcro dartboard, small bals
  • Crafting supplies if that’s your thing.
  • Torch / small light for when kids are asleep
If you do find yourself in centralized quarantine, or medical isolation please reach out to a Shanhgai Mamas group admin, or the Shanghai Mamas WeChat contact if you would like to be connected to WeChat support communities for others in your situation.
Also if you have been in quarantine, and you have something helpful to pack please comment.