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The dos and don'ts of social distancing in the time of coronavirus

According to WHO, the most important rule in social distancing, is to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing

Sukanya Roy  |  New Delhi 

As several countries around the world have started ordering the shutdown of schools, colleges, gyms, restaurants, cinema halls, swimming pools and other recreational spots, it is important to understand how the concept of social distancing is instrumental to curb the spread of the infection.

Yet, there are some people who are not practising the drill as they either believe summers would curtail the outbreak or they have faith that nothing will happen to them.

So what does the term ‘social distancing’ mean?

According to WHO, the most important rule in social distancing, is to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. It’s important to check with your state government and public health authority to find about the guidance issued.

Should you go to work?

Representatives of the corporate sector have agreed to let their employees work from home in view of the outbreak. Many companies also agreed to hold virtual meetings instead of in-person interactions and are spreading awareness towards combating the disease, including respiratory etiquettes. Companies have also recommended that employees with underlying health conditions should stay home and away from other people.

Can you use public transport?

Public transport can be regarded as infection hotspots as the rate of virus transmission is much higher for those using vehicles. While travelling, people should use hand sanitisers, disinfectants and clean wipes during the rides. Try to minimise contact with other people in crowded vehicles. Wear a mask so that others don’t become uncomfortable if you sneeze or cough. Most importantly, people should avoid non-essential travel as advised by the governments across the world.

Can you get groceries from outside?

Many are stocking up on supplies as food, and other essential commodities have been quickly disappearing from supermarket shelves in signs of panic-buying. The situation is not such that retailers will be unable to meet the demand of consumers, and it's also important to keep the needs of others in consideration and not overbuy. Use a sanitiser or wash your hands, immediately after leaving the billing queue, especially if you used touch screen or swiping machine for payment.

Can you go for a walk?

People can go for a walk only in their immediate neighbourhood, provided if they keep a safe distance from others. However, health ministries have recommended people to go outside and engage in outdoor activity, such as running and walking as long as people exercise safe social distancing, and not gather in groups.

First Published: Wed, March 18 2020. 20:40 IST
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