What is social distancing and why is it important?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus” Social Distancing is key to reducing the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the last 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face
So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
What can I do?
If you are sick, stay away from others – that is the most important thing for you to do.
You should also practice good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom
- cover your cough with tissue or sneeze into your elbow, dispose of tissues, and use 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash hands
- if unwell, avoid contact with other people (stay more than 1.5 meters from others)
- Avoid touching your face
As well as these, you can start a range of social distancing and low cost hygiene actions now.
These simple, common sense actions help reduce risk to you and to others. They will help to slow the spread of disease in the community – and you can use them everyday – in your home, workplace, school and while out in public.
Social Distancing at home:
To reduce the spread of germs:
- As mentioned, practice good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene
- Regularly disinfect high touch surfaces, such as tables, kitchen counters and doorknobs
- Increase ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
- Visit shops sparingly and buy more goods and services online
- Consider whether outings and travel, both individual and family, are sensible and necessary
Households where people are ill* (in addition to measures above)
- Care for the sick person in a single room if possible
- Keep the number of carers to a minimum
- Keep the door to the sick persons room closed and, if possible, a window open
- Both the sick person and the people caring for them should wear surgical mask when they are in the same room
- Protect other vulnerable family members, such as people over 65 or people with a chronic illness, including, if practicable, finding alternative accommodation
- Avoid hugging, kissing, hand shaking
Social Distancing in The Workplace:
Working from home instead of the office is ideal. But if it is essential for you work in-office please take precautions and use these tips to reduce the spread of germs:
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Stop handshaking as a greeting
- Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
- Defer large meetings
- Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible\
- Promote good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and provide hand sanitizers for all staff and workers
- Take lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunchroom
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
- Consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more ventilation
- Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
- Reconsider non-essential business travel
- Promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts
- Consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled
Social Distancing in Public:
Going to public places should be limited to getting the essentials; avoid non- essential travel within the community and stay 6ft away from others.
to reduce the spread of germs:
- Sanitize your hands wherever possible, including entering and leaving buildings
- Use tap and pay rather than handling money
- Try and travel at quiet times and try to avoid crowds
- Public transport workers and taxi drivers should open vehicle windows where possible, and regularly clean and disinfect high touch surfaces
Things to consider when organizing public gatherings:
Events where a large number of people are in one place can increase the risk of transmission of virus including schools/child care facilities and other public spaces within your community. If you are organizing a gathering, consider whether you can postpone, or cancel the event.