Tuesday 20 October, 2020

What is social distancing & how can it help fight coronavirus?

Jamaica confirmed its first Covid-19 case yesterday as global cases soared to more than 118,000 and deaths now total almost 4,300.

Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton revealed a young woman with dual Jamaican/British citizenship had tested positive for the deadly novel coronavirus after travelling to Kingston on March 4 from the UK to attend a funeral.

The Minister also revealed:

  • we have a $2 billion war chest to fight Covid-19, including $7-b in the event of an outbreak
  • Three more countries, France, Germany and Spain, have been added to our travel restriction list
  • a Covid-19 emergency response team has been assembled

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Dr Tufton also advised against public gatherings, throwing Champs and Carnival into doubt. The Kingston Marathon, scheduled for Sunday March 15, was cancelled as fears mount.

Across the globe, persons have been advised to wash their hands thoroughly, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching their face, and cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.

Italy, with more than 10,000 cases, has been put into lock-down while other governments have advised social distancing.

What is social distancing?

It means maintaining at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why is this important? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus, if the person coughing has the disease.

Basically, social distancing is a type of non-medical infection control designed to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Its objective is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize transmission and ultimately, death.

It ranges from maintaining 3 feet between yourself and people who are coughing/sneezing, stamping out hugs, kisses, handshakes and group photos, and can go as far as school and workplace closures, quarantine, isolation, banning mass gatherings and banning mass travel.

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this, you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

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