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Social distancing vs self isolation: What is the difference between the two?

The number of confirmed cases in Britain has risen to 3,269 as the number of deaths is currently 144. The Queen issued a message to the nation on Thursday as she praised the work of scientists, medics and emergency workers for their roles in combating the virus.

The Queen said in a statement: “Our nation’s great history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one.

“We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable with them.

“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge.

“You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”

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What is self isolation?

If you are showing any of the main, early symptoms of the virus – a continuous, dry cough or a high temperature – and are able to look after yourself at home, the NHS advises you to stay indoors.

If you live alone in your home, you should stay in for seven days from the day you start showing symptoms, and if you live with others, you should do the same but for fourteen days.

The 7-day difference exists because of the 14-day incubation period of the coronavirus strain.

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If possible, stay inside and ask someone else to deliver any food or vital medication to you, but ensure groceries are left outside the front door.

If you are able to, you should move vulnerable individuals out of your home to stay with friends and family who are not self-isolating.

Should you need to go out, try and avoid close contact with others and under no circumstances should you visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital to avoid spreading the infection.

Should I self isolate at home?

Yes, you should stay at your own home – particularly if you have vulnerable people living with you.

If you can, sleep in a separate room and use the bathroom and kitchen areas at different times, making sure you have thoroughly cleaned when you’re done.

Make sure hands are being washed frequently and any waste, like dirty tissues, should be double bagged and kept apart from your normal waste for 72 hours before disposing of it.

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What is social distancing?

Social distancing is what everyone else, who has not experienced symptoms, should now be practicing.

It means you cannot be in any large gatherings or groups and must be keeping your distance from others.

This means no trips to the cinema, theatre, restaurant, pubs or friends’ houses.

You can, however, go outside for some fresh air and exercise to pause the long periods of isolation.

So go for a run, ride your bike, walk your dog but remember to keep a distance from others.

Can I go to visit grandparents?

If you live near them, it is ok to pop in for a flying visit – but do not stay with them and certainly don’t stay the night.

Under no circumstances should you let elderly relatives look after your children, so set them up on Skype or another video messaging service to ensure they don’t miss out on quality time.

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