With the coronavirus outbreak still at its peak, officials around the world have issued a warning and implemented a new policy—social distancing. The term ‘social distancing’ has been repeatedly mentioned by government officials around the world as a precautionary step to avoid the spread of the virus. Experts say that avoiding close contact is the key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Social distancing is important in reducing the spread of COVID-19 since it is not an airborne virus, but spreads when someone who is infected touches or coughs on a surface. People get infected if they come into contact with said infected person or infected surfaces and touch their eyes, face or mouths. Hence, the less contact you have, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and government officials around the world have implemented the concept of social distancing and self-quarantine to the public ever since the outbreak. Since then, many outdoor events and day-to-day schedules have either been postponed or suspended for the time being. People are advised to stay at home and avoid going outside if they do not have urgent or important work to do. Schools, universities, and public places have all been closed down due to the coronavirus, and many countries have implemented a new policy of working from home, for the time being.
What actually is social distancing and self-quarantine? How do you do these things the way it should be to reduce the risk of getting infected? With the outbreak at its peak, it is common for people to panic and feel at their lowest. People’s lives are being threatened by the virus and it is normal that the world is not at their best—with all the lockdowns and travel bans happening. However, morale is important. It was morale that kept the people going during the World War and during plagues. We should not let a virus ruin our days. Hence, how do we practice social distancing but also have fun with it? Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house, and doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to have fun. Although, we still need to practice social distancing and avoid close contact with anyone when out in public. The following points are the Do’s and Don’ts of social distancing that everyone must pay attention to.
- Frequently wash your hands.
With the coronavirus’ high infection rate, we need to frequently wash our hands when touching surfaces and even after doing normal everyday tasks to eliminate any potential virus that we could have come into contact with. According to the WHO’s guide, washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice (or 20 seconds). We need to clean our hands regularly using alcohol-based soap and clean water, and dry them thoroughly.
- Practice daily hygiene.
We need to practice good personal hygiene such as showering, washing your clothes after going outside, washing your hands before eating and after going to the toilet, turning away when sneezing or coughing, and many others. This will limit the spread of not only the virus, but also bacteria and other unwanted germs.
- Avoid close contact with people and surfaces.
Avoid close contact with other individuals in order to avoid catching the virus yourself and to avoid passing it on.
- Wear a face mask, only if you are feeling under the weather or sick.
If you are starting to feel sick and exhibit flu-like symptoms, wear a face mask to avoid it spreading to other people. However, if you are feeling fine, do not wear face masks. If everyone wears face masks, there will not be enough supplies of face masks for the people who really need it.
- Avoid going outside if you start feeling sick.
If you start to feel sick and exhibit flu-like symptoms, avoid going outside. Instead, stay inside and practice self-quarantine. Do not leave the house as it will be likely that you get other people infected.
- Forget to always bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant when outside.
Do not forget to bring hand sanitizer or wet tissues with disinfectant in them when in public. In case that you are unable to find any access to water and soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands.
- Go to crowded areas. Avoid them, if possible.
Avoid going to crowded places with lots of people. If you do not have any dire work or emergency to attend to, stay away from these areas as the chances of someone infected with the coronavirus or is carrying the virus is likely. If you do go to these areas, make sure to maintain a safe distance (at least an arms’ length) from other people.
- Go to the gym. Do home workouts instead.
Though it is advised to avoid crowded places such as the gym, it does not mean that you can not exercise. As it is risky to exercise at the gym with the dire conditions at hand, you can always do home workouts in the meantime. Avoiding the gym would be the best precautionary step in preventing getting infected. If you still want to go to the gym, do not forget to bring disinfectant to spray any surfaces before coming into contact. Whilst exercising, do not touch your face to avoid the virus getting into your system.
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Avoid touching your face area—the eyes, nose, mouth and ears, as the virus can enter your body through these places if you were to touch or rub any one of them.
- Hoard or overbuy supplies from the supermarket.
This is one of the many misconceptions that people are doing. There is no need for people to hoard and clear out all the shelves in the supermarket. It is a very unneeded thing, and increases panic amongst people. Do not stock up and only buy what is necessary. By raiding supermarkets and fighting over supplies, the virus is likely to spread here too as people are going to the supermarket in flocks. Maintain order and discipline when in public. It is not the end of the world.
- Panic shopping
Lastly, do not panic. It will only make things worse and not fix any issues. Instead, panicking will only cause other people to panic. This will cause the government to have difficulties in controlling and observing the public. Do not flock to the hospital if you are not experiencing any sick symptoms or have a minor discomfort. The hospitals are reserved only for people that are acutely ill.
Many would say that panicking is normal, especially when the conditions support it. But in this case, it would cause more harm than good. Panic would just cause more panic, and people will comprehend the coronavirus outbreak in a barbaric fashion. The coronavirus pandemic can be oppressed if people practice good hygiene and avoid close contacts. It is not the end of the world.
Written By: Aisyah Daniswari
Source: World Health Organization, Vox