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What is social distancing?

The government has asked everyone to social distance, but what does this mean?

Coronavirus is spread when people who are infected with the virus release airborne droplets, for example when they sneeze or cough, which then spread to people and objects around them.

Social distancing is important as it helps to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Why should I social distance?

Even if you are feeling well and you go out to meet your friends, you or your friends could still be a carrier of the virus, even if you don’t have any symptoms. You, or them, could then pass the virus on to others.

The virus can take up to 14 days from when you have been infected to start showing symptoms, but you can still be infectious to others during this time. Whilst you may not get any symptoms, members of your family might.

Coronavirus does not just affect elderly or sick people, it can affect anyone and, while you may think that you’re fit and healthy and that it won’t affect you, there is no guarantee.

If you or others are caught not abiding by social distancing, the police have the powers to break up any gatherings and to issue fines.

Who benefits from social distancing?

While social distancing helps to reduce the spread of the virus, it more importantly helps to protect vulnerable and high risk people in the community. People who fall into this category include:

  • People over the age of 70
  • People with respiratory conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma and COPD
  • People with a weak immune system – this can include people who are currently having chemotherapy or other medication that can affect the immune system
  • People with diabetes
  • Pregnant women

These are just some examples of the people within the high risk and vulnerable groups; the list is much longer and can be viewed on the NHS website.

By minimising contact with people other than those you live with, you are helping to protect vulnerable and high risk people, which could help to save lives.

How do I social distance and what am I allowed to do whilst social distancing?

From 4 July, the 2 metre social distancing rule will be changed, and people should stay ‘one-metre plus’ where a distance of 2 metres is not possible.

You can find all of the latest government guidelines here.

Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will be receiving some face to face support. Your school will be in touch with the plans that are required to keep you safe in school. It’s hoped that everyone will return to school full time in September.

You will have to wear a face covering on public transport and any enclosed spaces. You can find out more on wearing and making a cloth face covering here.

If, after lifting some of the restrictions, the government sees a concerning rise in the infection rate, then some restrictions may have to be brought back in so it’s important you follow the social distancing guidance.

Looking after your own emotional health during the coronavirus is so important, and we’ve got advice on how to do that here.

Everyone’s actions have helped to reduce the transmission of coronavirus in our communities, with deaths and infection rates continuing to fall.

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to protect the vulnerable, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

The most important thing we can continue to do is to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save lives.


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