Coronavirus and social distancing – what you need to know.

Coronavirus and social distancing – what you need to know.

Essential advice – especially for those over 70.

The coronavirus outbreak is moving at rapid speed, with so much information being issued on an almost constant basis it can often be difficult to keep ahead of the latest developments, to fully understand what you should do and when, and most importantly how to keep you and your loved ones safe.

One of the big questions that is being debated is who should be following the advice and undertaking social distancing? Well, let’s try and make sense of that for you.

Social distancing

All people who are at an increased risk of severe illness as a result of coronavirus should follow social distancing measures. The people that fall into this group are defined by the NHS as follows:-

• Those that are aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
• Under 70 with an underlying health condition (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)

The underlying health conditions include:-

• 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, a learning disability or cerebral palsy.
• Diabetes.
• Problems with your spleen – such as 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 if you are taking medications such as steroid tablets or undergoing chemotherapy.
• If you are seriously overweight (defined as having a body mass index of 40 or above).
• If you are a pregnant woman.
What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus and are:

• Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms include high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough.
• Avoid non-essential use of public transport, if you do need to use public transport try and vary your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.
• Work from home, where possible.
• Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs.
• Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
• Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

It is strongly advised that everyone try’s to follow these measures as much as is possible and pragmatic.