Social distancing is a non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention implemented to avoid/decrease contact between those who are infected with a disease causing pathogen and those who are not, so as to stop or slow down the rate and extent of disease transmission in a community. This eventually leads to decrease in spread, morbidity and mortality due to the disease.

In public health, social distancing, also called physical distancing, is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures intended to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other. It typically involves keeping a certain distance from others (the distance specified may differ from time to time and country to country) and avoiding gathering together in large groups. By reducing the probability that a given uninfected person will come into physical contact with an infected person, the disease transmission can be suppressed, resulting in fewer deaths. The measures are used in combination with good respiratory hygiene and hand washing by a population. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested favoring the term “physical distancing” as opposed to “social distancing”, in keeping with the fact that it is a physical distance which prevents transmission; people can remain socially connected via technology. To slow down the spread of infectious diseases and avoid overburdening healthcare systems, particularly during a pandemic, several social-distancing measures are used, including the closing of schools and workplaces, isolation, quarantine, restricting the movement of people and the cancellation of mass gatherings

Social distancing is maintained to stop the spread of virus and infections. You should avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with. That is called social distancing. As Coronavirus spread throughout the world, business and restaurants have closed their doors. People who uses to work in offices are now working from home. Social distancing is widely encouraged and is quickly becoming a norm. Despite all the changes to their every day lives. People around the country are finding new routines and way to entertain themselves.

Now humanity finds itself in the midst of an actual disease pandemic, screens are proving to be a boon to the species. Process in digital technology has perhaps never been more evident than in this moment of widespread social distancing measures. In earlier world social distancing meant isolation but today’s technology is changing work. From work, education, and errands to leisure and socializing, technology is making social distancing easy. Technology will endure to achieve the same degree of physical separation. Now digital technology is used to help people stay connected and keep society running smoothly this pandemic. Virtual gathering, enabled by digital platforms like Zoom, Google Hangout, Facebook Live, FaceTime and others, are helping socially distanced people across the world to engage with one another and socialize.

In United States soon be required to wear a device on their hard hats that emits an alarm if they come within six feet of another employee at a job site. As they get closer, the alarm get louder. This system is known as proximity trace. It helps workers to practice social distancing guidelines easily. The device relies on ultra High frequency radio signals, used in police and ham radios, to give employers a list of workers who came into contact with each other.

As nations around the world look at opening their economies, social distancing will remain a daily practice. As school, restaurants, and other non essential workplace open back up, they’ll asked to deploy strict measures to follow distancing. Progress in digital technology has perhaps never been more evident than in this moment of widespread social distancing measures. Technology is making social distancing possible with minimal sacrifice.

Amazon has already deployed machine learning software in its security cameras to ensure that warehouse workers stay at least six feel apart.

Systems that can help in social distancing are:  

  • The start-up Landing AI has designed a “social distancing tool” that can integrate with CCTV cameras. Workers at an Antwerp port are testing a wristband that emits a warning signal if they come within five feet of each other.
  • 1point5: There’s an appcalled 1point5 made by the United Nations, which notifies users when someone enters their 1.5 metres radius. The app is available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Developed by the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL), 1point5 app helps you maintain social distancing. The app scans for nearby mobile devices via Bluetooth and warns users when a device enters the 1.5-meter perimeter.
  • Sodar: Google-developed Sodar app has now enabled all the smartphone users to have a new way to let themselves know if a person is closer than the stated distance from one another. This tool is available from this week and uses Android smartphone cameras to put the users of the application in the centre of a circle which as a radius of about two meters, or 6.5 feet. If any nearby person comes inside the circumference of the circle, the user gets notified. The interface is simple and is similar to the smartphone game PokemonGo which uses the perimeter augmented reality technology.
  • Bump: Blyth-based robotics company, Tharsus, has announced the development of Bump – a new, cutting-edge technology system designed to help keep people safe in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. It creates a “virtual bubble” of two metres around the wearer and alerts them with light and sound if they get too close to another Bump user. Bump was developed as a preventative measure to help businesses enforce personal-distance standards, measure effectiveness, minimise aerosol transmission, and support the implementation of contact transmission policies.
  • ProGlove connect proximity: ProGlove Connect Proximity is the first phase of the company’s software initiative to help its customers manage safe social distancing in the workplace. The ProGlove Connect Proximity app for Android warns workers when they are in proximity with other workers. All that’s needed is a smartphone or tablet running Android version 6.0 or higher with support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

SafeSpace is a unique social distancing tool that can be worn on the wrist or clipped to a belt and provides an intelligent, proactive social distancing solution, that will help us to get ‘boots back on the ground’ whilst keeping the workforce safe. It does this by providing real-time audible, visual and vibrating alerts when a device identifies another within 2 metres of itself.

It is a unique social distancing tool that can be worn on the wrist or clipped to a belt and provides real-time audible, visual and vibrating alerts when a device identifies another similar device within 2 metres of itself.

The non-bulky, wearable technology can last for more than 12 hours on a single charge, and will help to create a culture of spatial awareness and drive positive behavioural change, protecting employees and helping them to follow government protocols.

Construction giant Amey is one of the ‘early adopters’ of this new technology for its highways, rail and waste collections sectors. “We are delighted to be exploring the use of this tool as a mechanism to manage and control social distancing in our operations,” says James Haluch, Amey’s MD for transport infrastructure. “I believe, alongside our existing engineering and management controls we do need to be exploiting new technology such as SafeSpace to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our people which is a fundamental requirement across the infrastructure sector as we address the hazards being presented by Covid19.”

SafeSpace enables contractors to guarantee the safety and welfare of their workforce, while at the same time ramping up delivery to meet the challenging opportunities being presented in highway maintenance and construction.

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