Coronavirus: how to do social distancing correctly


Stay home as much as you can – this is currently the most important advice that health officials give to anyone in a country where the coronavirus is spreading.

The less contact we have with each other, the lower the risk of further spreading the new coronavirus known as Sars-CoV-2.

While this certainly means that large gatherings of people will have to be suspended, close personal contact in smaller groups can also become a problem.

Even if you think you are healthy and that the virus would not be deadly to you, social estrangement is as much about protecting yourself as it is about protecting other, more vulnerable people who might get the virus.

The basic rules on social distancing have been outlined according to health officials at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany and the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA).

– Avoid close contact: If you can, make arrangements with your employer to work from home. If complete home insulation is not an option, there are still ways to reduce risk by keeping your contact to a minimum. Gatherings with friends and family should be canceled, while parties and weddings should be postponed. Your own car and bicycle are now a safer form of transportation than bus and train.Schedule your trips outdoors: If you can, try to avoid shopping during rush hour and see when supermarkets and pharmacies are empty. Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpaSchedule your trips outdoors: If you can, try to avoid shopping during rush hour and see when supermarkets and pharmacies are empty. Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa

– Meet the same people: You can’t be expected to avoid all human contact. Whether for professional or private reasons, you will likely have to see other people from time to time. And yet, to prevent a rapid spread of the virus, health experts say you should limit your contact to the same few family and / or friends and avoid encounters with new people. This also makes it easier for health officials to find out who might be affected in the event of an infection.

– Keep your distance: When you meet other people, keep a distance of at least 1m, preferably 2m, and avoid shaking hands and hugging anyone. Of course, the following always applies: wash your hands regularly and thoroughly!

– Schedule your trips outdoors: if you can, try to avoid shopping during peak hours and see when supermarkets and pharmacies are empty. Even if restaurants and cafes remain open in your area, health officials generally advise against visiting them. The same goes for all public places with crowds of people, from playgrounds to shopping malls.

– Help anyone who is at risk: avoiding human contact applies above all to vulnerable people, that is, the elderly and the chronically ill. At the same time, they are now the most restricted in their freedom of movement. Anyone who can, therefore, should offer help, for example, shopping and running errands. This can be arranged by mobile phone and door-to-door delivery, ideally without personal contact.

– Get fresh air: sunlight and oxygen are still important. After all, both physical and mental health will help you be prepared for a possible infection. Virologist Christian Drosten advises him to continue dating. “It is not the case that when you go for a walk, when you meet people, you become infected,” he said in a coronavirus podcast. The RKI also does not advise against going for a walk. Joint walks are still possible, but at a distance. – dpa