Should you be social distancing?

The coronavirus outbreak is hitting businesses in all industries and people in all walks of life, and things are moving so quickly that it can be difficult to know what to do for the best.

The government has suggested we all work from home where possible and cut out all non-essential travel, but how far should we take this? And should you be social distancing?

What is social distancing?

Social distancing basically means limiting the amount of physical contact you have with other people.

It’s recommended that you keep a distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and that you avoid physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes, hugs and kisses.

It’s used as a way to help stop or at least slow down the spread of infections, and is being recommended for everyone in the UK to help curb the coronavirus threat.

How do you do social distancing?

In short, just reduce the amount of physical contact and interaction you have with people. This means avoiding social gatherings, especially in small, crowded venues or at events which pull in large crowds. It even extends to gatherings of friends and family, and visits to the GP – use NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 where necessary.

It also helps to avoid public spaces and work from home wherever possible,  which means holding meeting via conference call instead of in person, and avoiding the daily commute and any use of public transport.

Do you need to do social distancing?

Although we should all be social distancing where possible, the UK government has issued guidelines on who needs to observe social distancing as a priority to help avoid coronavirus.

If you fall into any of the groups below, you are at greater risk from coronavirus infection and should observe social distancing:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive
    • pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease,
    • multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
    • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • are pregnant

This will obviously cause problems if you need to get out of the house for food, so it’s recommended you use a delivery service or get friends or family to drop off provisions, remembering to keep your distance from them as much as possible.

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