Who should be practising social distancing?
UPDATE 24 March 2020: Everyone has been asked to stay home and if they need to go out for exercise, to buy food or to collect medicines, everyone is expected to stay 2 metres apart from others.
This is UK Government guidance, published 16 March 2020, listing those who should practise social distancing to help protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 at this time. This list includes not just those who are likely to be our parents and other older relatives, but also many of us who have health issues:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
More information can be found on the gov.uk website. The charities associated with many of these conditions are also publishing guidance and it is well worth visiting their pages.
Social distancing is not the same as self-isolating. Social distancing is about avoiding risks, so keeping away from crowded areas and maintaining a distance from the people you do mix with. Exercise in the open air is currently considered to be a reasonable thing to do, but again keeping a distance from people is advised.