From Social Distancing to Community Physical Distancing During COVID-19 Pandemic

Social distancing is one of the main ways prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in combating the spread of COVID-19. However, in trying to place emphasis on the importance of keeping our distance from each other in these uncertain times, the African Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC) has replaced the term “Social Distancing” with “Physical Distancing” as a sign of solidarity and support in ensuring that being physically distant from each other will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Physical distancing will e sure that people continue to stay in touch with family and friends through non-contact means.

Here are some basic facts on Community Physical Distancing from the African Center for Disease Control;

Physical Distancing at the individual level means:

  • The use of non-contact greeting
  • Maintaining at least one (1) metre distance from others
  • Staying home when ill

Physical Distancing at the Community Level

  • Shielding the medically vulnerable
  • Closure of social events or gatherings. This includes schools, workplaces, houses of worship and any gathering which is cultural, or for sporting purposes.

The importance of Physical Distancing at these levels is because:

  • Frequent transmission happens from person-to-person
  • Transmission may occur from asymptomatic (infected people showing no symptoms or never develop symptoms) people.
  • When infected you may become severely ill, especially if you are medically vulnerable (aged, people with lung and heart conditions and people suffering from diabetes and those who are obese)
  • There is no medical proof that any population is immune to COVID-19
  • There is no cure or vaccine for the virus.

Thus, Physical Distancing is an important strategy to delay and reduce the extent to which there are outbreaks of the disease. The reduction of contact between people will curb the instances for transmitting the disease which will cause a delay and limit the peak point of COVID-19. This will protect people who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19 complications.

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