What is social distancing? A guide to protecting yourself and the vulnerable from coronavirus

People across the country have been told to distance themselves from unnecessary contact as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

This includes avoiding pubs, bars, clubs and theatres as part of a plan called 'social distancing'.

But what is social distancing and how does it work?

What is social distancing?

The phrase means we should all be taking measures to reduce social interaction to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Social distancing is intended for people who live in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus

  • Work from home

  • Avoid public transport unless essential

  • Avoid pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs and large gatherings

  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP

The UK Government has issued this table with a summary of advice. Credit: UK Government

Who is most at risk and should follow social distancing measures?

Anyone who is over the age of 70, has an underlying health condition or pregnant are being strongly advised to follow recommendations put in place.

The Welsh Government has also said the most vulnerable should stay at home for the next 13-16 weeks.

This includes:

  • aged over 70

  • pregnant

  • anyone under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below:

  • asthma

  • chronic heart disease

  • chronic kidney disease

  • chronic liver disease

  • chronic neurological conditions

  • cerebral palsy

  • diabetes

  • weekend immune system

  • obese

Credit: PA Images

How can I stay in-touch with friends and family?

People are being told to stay in touch with friends and family through their mobile phone, Skype, social media and by post.

Thousands have joined local Facebook groups offering food and support for elderly and vulnerable people during the outbreak, with many praising the community spirit that has been shown.

What do I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

Anyone with a high temperature or new continuous cough should self-isolate Credit: PA Images

People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus, but should self-isolate immediately.

Anyone who has a high temperature or a new continuous cough should stay at home for 14 days. This also applies if you live with someone who has symptoms.

This means avoiding leaving the house even to buy food or essentials, however people have been told they can exercise, but only at a safe distance from others.

Everything you need to know about coronavirus: