We all want what is best for our family. Protecting them, especially those who are old or have existing health conditions, should be our top priority. Social distancing will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
HOW DO I KEEP MY HOUSEHOLD SAFE?
Social distancing is the best way to halt the spread of COVID-19. This is because the virus is mainly spread between people who are within 2 metres of each other, by coughing, sneezing, and touching.
Not having any visitors to your household can keep you and your family safe from the virus. You should try to limit gatherings in your home. Do not have people over for birthday parties, dinner parties, or small gatherings. Keeping these people healthy, instead of physically seeing them, is a really good way to show them your love.
This does not mean you cannot speak to your loved ones. Stay in touch on the internet or on the phone. Check in with those who are vulnerable to make sure they are doing well.
IF I THINK I HAVE THE VIRUS, HOW CAN I STOP INFECTING THE OTHER PEOPLE I LIVE WITH?
Finding space for yourself can be difficult for those living with many people, but self-quarantining can protect those you live with if you think you have COVID-19. If you live with someone who is 70 or older, or who has a medical condition like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes, or a weak immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days. If this is not possible, you can still reduce the chance of infecting other people with the virus by taking these steps:
- The person who has symptoms should try to stay in a room by themselves for seven days from when they first became ill
- If possible, do not share a bed
- Do not share towels, bedding, or clothes
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Put used tissues or cloths in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- Clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, cooking items and phones)
- If you are sharing a bathroom with other people, clean the surfaces you have touched every time you use them.
- If you live in an apartment, try to use communal spaces, like the laundry room or mailroom, when you know less people will be using them.
- Even if you cannot avoid living with other people, you can reduce the risk of spreading the virus by washing your hands frequently and coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve. Washing your hands and not touching your face is the most effective way to stop the virus spreading.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY COMMUNITY?
Social distancing also includes staying away from crowds and mass gatherings. This also includes religious services. This will be difficult for many people, but is really important. In South Korea, the 31st person to be diagnosed with the coronavirus spread it to thousands of other people. One of the ways she did this was by attending two packed church services of hundreds of people before she realised she had the virus. Currently, scientists think up to 50% of people who have the virus may not have any symptoms. Just because you feel healthy does not mean you are not infecting other people.
In some countries, many churches have stopped holding physical services and are instead holding online ones. Some are live-streaming morning and evening prayer and Sunday services on Facebook. This is something you could suggest to your religious leaders. It will help protect your entire religious community.
You will still be able to go outside, as long as you are sticking to uncrowded locations.
Social distancing will not stop the spread of the virus completely, but it will help. It will also help to slow the spread of the virus. This is important, because it means that less people will be ill at the same time, meaning that there will be more hospital beds available for sick people. With every person you come across, you increase your chances of getting the virus.