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Coronavirus: What is social distancing and how do you practise it

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New Delhi, Mar 18: While responding to the coronavirus outbreak, governments around the world have called for social distancing. The governments say that social distancing will help limit the spread of the virus.

So, what is social distancing and how is it done. Let us find out.

Coronavirus: What is social distancing and how do you practise it

Social distancing can help stop the spread of the infections. Social distancing often includes curbing social contact, work and schooling among seemingly healthy individuals. This is done with a view of delaying the transmission and reducing the size of the outbreak.

How do you practice social distancing:

  • Avoid public spaces and unwanted social gatherings. Events with large numbers of people or crowds should be avoided. This would lower the chance that you will be exposed to the virus.
  • Working from home is also another way of social distancing. The World Health Organisation says one must maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and the one who is coughing or sneezing. This is because when someone coughs, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, your breathe in the droplets, including the virus if the person coughing has the disease.

India's total coronavirus cases reaches 147; nearly 8,000 deaths globallyIndia's total coronavirus cases reaches 147; nearly 8,000 deaths globally

Some examples of social distancing:

  • Public and private colleges suspending classes and cancelling all large campus meetings.
  • Businesses changing company practices and setting up flexible shift plans. Having employees telecommunicate and cancelling large meetings or conferences. Libraries modifying their operations and restricting people from gathering by allowing people to come in only to pick up material that has been reserved or requested by phone.
  • It is highly recommended that one avoids physical contact with others in social situations, which includes, handshakes, hugs and kisses.

How are countries implementing social distancing:

  • India has advised closure of malls, cinema halls, schools. Further companies have also been advised to encourage the work out of home option. The advisory also says that people should avoid being part of large crowds. Marriages and other major events must be postponed, the government of India has also said.
  • The European Union has planned to close down the borders and restrict all non-essential travel. The UK government has advised people to stop all non-essential contact with other people. China quarantined the region and introduced building isolation facilities. The Chinese government also tracked peoples' movements to prevent those with the infection from travelling.

What you should do:

  • Avoid unwanted travel
  • Avoid large crowds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Practice respiratory hygiene
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

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