Social distancing: Effects and Impacts


Social distancing is something that we hear from all sides now with Covid-19 attacking us from every side. Here are some helpful information on social distancing.

What does social distancing mean?

  • Social distancing practices are changes in behaviour that can help stop the spread of infections. These often include curtailing social contact, work and schooling among seemingly healthy individuals, with a view to delaying transmission and reducing the size of an outbreak.

How do you practice social distancing?

  • Reducing your rate of contact with other people. Avoiding public spaces and unnecessary social gatherings, especially events with large numbers of people or crowds.
  • Working from home if possible, organising meetings via video calls rather than doing them in person and avoiding unnecessary use of public transport.
  • Do it sensibly and rationally.
  • The World Health Organization recommends maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone.
  • Avoid physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes, hugs and kisses.

How can you maintain social distance from people you live with or care for?

  • Separate yourself from people you live with as much as possible. If you can’t avoid sharing a bathroom or toilet, clean these areas regularly.

Does social distancing work?

  • Yes it works. There is evidence from previous outbreaks, including the 1918 flu pandemic and the 2014 Ebola outbreak that social distancing can effectively limit the spread of infections. We don’t know exactly how the new coronavirus spreads.

How are countries implementing social distancing?

  • China implemented particularly stringent measures in Hubei province. In addition to quarantining the region and building isolation facilities, the Chinese government used mobile phone tracking to monitor people’s movements and prevent people with confirmed infections from travelling.

What are the potential negative impacts of social distancing?

  • It has already affected the global economy because people are staying at home and demand for goods and services has fallen.
  • Concerns have also been expressed that social distancing could lead to increased loneliness, especially among older people who are at a higher risk of severe covid-19.


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