As we live in what seems to be a temporary, alternate universe, where our daily routines have been uprooted and replaced with new unfamiliar habits, it can bring a lot of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and helplessness, not to mention those pesky “what if?” questions that keep our minds spinning. However, in times like this, it’s important to focus on what we can control. The good news is, there is something within our control that each of us can do to contribute in the fight against COVID-19 – that is Social Distancing.
Up until a few weeks ago, many of us had never even heard of the term ‘Social Distancing’ and now it seems to have taken over our daily conversations.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming in close contact with healthy people in order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. It can include large-scale measures like cancelling group events or closing public spaces, as well as individual decisions such as avoiding crowds.
With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing right now is to slow down the outbreak in order to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations and to reduce the burden on health care systems and workers. Experts describe this as “flattening the curve,” which generally refers to the potential success of social distancing measures to prevent surges in illness that could overwhelm health care systems.
All of these recommendations are meant to help foster compliance with what many public health officials say is one of the most important strategies for everyone to comply with (not just those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel sick): social distancing.
Social distancing is not an easy thing to do, but it’s necessary when facing a pandemic. Given that it can feel extreme, lonely and sad to avoid people, here’s how you can do your part to reduce the spread of the virus, but still stay sane and feel connected to those you love. Remember, it’s a temporary measure that can help protect countless others (and yourself) in the long run.
Why is social (physical) distancing so important?
Health officials have repeatedly stated that physically distancing ourselves from other people is critical to try and limit the spread of COVID-19 as best we can.
The rationale behind social (physical) distancing is to try and avoid a huge spike in COVID-19 cases that will put too much strain on our health care system all at once. If everyone gets sick at the same time, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and won’t have the capability to provide the necessary treatment for everyone.
Instead, we can focus our efforts to “flatten the curve” and prevent that spike in cases. If everyone does their part and practices social (physical) distancing to slow the rate of COVID-19 spread, it will give hospitals a fighting chance to continue to have room, necessary supplies and health care providers for all patients who need care. This will protect those individuals at greatest risk of serious complications or death.
How do I practice social distancing?
The CDC defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
This means, “No hugs, no handshakes.”
It’s particularly important—and perhaps obvious—to maintain that same 6-foot distance from anyone who is demonstrating signs of illness, including coughing, sneezing, or fever.
Along with physical distance, proper hand-washing is important for protecting not only yourself but others around you—because the virus can be spread even without symptoms.
“Don’t wait for evidence that there’s circulation [of COVID-19] in your community”. Go ahead and step up that hand-washing right now because it really does help to reduce transmission.”
On the broader scale, a number of actions taken in recent days are designed to encourage social distancing, including:
- Schools, colleges, and universities suspending in-person classes and converting to remote online instruction
- Cities cancelling events, including sporting events, festivals, and parades
- Workplaces encouraging or mandating flexible work options, including telecommuting
- Organizations and businesses cancelling large gatherings, including conferences
- Houses of worship suspending services
“Community interventions like event closures play an important role,” Rivers says, “but individual behaviour changes are even more important. Individual actions are humble but powerful.”
Who should be doing social distancing?
COVID-19 has been labelled as a pandemic, a global outbreak of the disease. As a result, it is important for everyone to take social distancing recommendations seriously since the virus is spread mainly from close person-to-person contact.
Everyone, in everyone community across the world, should be practicing social distancing, whether you’re feel sick or feel fine. If everyone follows these orders, it will help slow the spread of coronavirus, “flatten the curve” and protect public health.
Steps for social distancing procedures:
The Government of India has ordered that the nationwide lockdown must continue from mid of March 2020 till the situation improves to contain the spread of Covid-19. While certain establishments and industrial units are permitted to operate during the lockdown, it is expected that State Governments may allow additional establishments to operate after 20 April 2020 subject to certain restrictions.
All shops, commercial establishments, workshops and offices, excluding establishments engaged in providing essential are required to be shut down.
Establishment providing the following have been specified as essential services:
- Food, groceries, fruits & vegetables, meat & fish, animal fodder;
- Banking or insurance services and ATM’s;
- Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, it and it enabled services only (for essential services);
- Delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment;
- Healthcare: hospitals, medical centres, medical stores;
- Electricity, petroleum, oil, energy;
- Print and electronic media;
- Cold storage and warehousing services;
- Capital and debt market services as notified by the securities and exchange board of India;
- Courier services; and
- Private security services.
All other establishments are required to continue to have their employees work from home.
All industrial establishments must be closed, except for units manufacturing essential commodities, pharmaceuticals or production units that require continuous process, (these units must obtain permission to operate from the state government).
The following industrial establishments may be permitted to operate from 20 April 2020:
- Industries operating in rural areas;
- Manufacturing units in special economic zones and export oriented units, industrial estates and industrial townships, provided that the employer makes arrangements for all workers to stay within the premises in line with the standard operating protocol;
- Units involve with the manufacturing of it hardware;
- Units manufacturing packaging material;
- Food processing units in rural areas;
- Coal production, mines and mineral production, their transportation, and all activities incidental to mining operations;
- Jute industries with staggered shifts; and
- Oil and gas exploration/refinery.
The below-mentioned construction activities would be permitted from April 20, 2020:
(i) Construction of roads, irrigation projects; buildings for industrial projects; in rural areas and all projects in industrial estates;
(ii)Construction of renewable energy projects; and
(iii)Construction of projects where all workers are available on-site and no outside labour is required.
Standard Operating Procedure
In view of the above, a Standard Operating Procedure has been established to ensure the safety of the employees and their families against Covid-19. The measures to be adopted by an employer permitted to continue functioning during the lockdown are as follows:
- All areas of the workplace including the entrance gate of the building, cafeteria, lifts, washroom, walls and other surfaces must be disinfected completely every day.
- Employers must organise transportation for all employees which does not rely on public transport and ensure that each vehicle is only filled to 30%-40% of passenger capacity.
- All vehicles and machinery entering the building or workplace should be disinfected.
- Mandatory temperature scanning (with a contactless thermal thermometer) of every individual entering and exiting the work place.
- Employers must provide medical insurance for all employees.
- Employers must provide an adequate supply of hand wash and sanitiser, preferably with a touch free mechanism at all entry points and common areas in the workplace.
- Workplaces must have a gap of one hour between each shift and stagger the lunch breaks for the staff to ensure social distancing.
- Meetings or gatherings of more than ten people are discouraged and there should be at least a 6 feet distance between each employee while seated.
- No more than two or four passengers (depending upon the surface area of the elevator) are permitted in a lift at one time and use of the stairs should be encouraged.
- There should be a strict ban on tobacco products and spitting should be prohibited.
- All non-essential visitors should be strictly banned from the premises.
- A list of all hospitals/clinics authorised to treat Covid-19 patients should be prepared and be readily available at the workplace.
- All employees above the age of 65 and parents with children below the age of five should be encouraged to work from home.
- Employers should introduce intensive training and communication on good hygiene practices, especially in manufacturing establishments.
This article was brought to you by Safe Space. Safespace is itself a provider a safety technologies and provides related services as required by its customers.
SafeSpace: A Safety System that Qualifies, Secures and Monitors travellers for Zero Contagion during Travel and beyond. It believes that there are 4 key was in which social distancing can be made a success or followed. They are as follows:
- Design the space for movement
- Control the speed of flow
- Qualify what is flowing in
- Finally Distance everything in closed space tightly
SafeSpace also believes that there are few solutions from which we can manage people’s movement in public place such as:
- Sanitization Management
- Queuing and Flow Management
- Limiting Counter
- Access and Entry Management
And for this purpose i.e. social distancing SafeSplace is also providing few products which would help people for the same.
- Counter System
- Cono Wearable System
- Smart Mirror Services
- ML Omnicloud
- Corerock admin platform
- Cono User App
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