Advice on social distancing

26th Mar 20

With much news in the media around everything to do with COVID-19, we are sharing our regular updates with the aim of providing you with some clear information.

Vulnerable persons guidance – What should you do if you have someone else living with you?

Firstly, what defines a vulnerable person?  As you are probably aware, those aged 70 or older are automatically classed as vulnerable regarding COVID-19.  Those under 70, and those with underlying health conditions are described in this clear list, linked from the Government information on social distancing and vulnerable people.  It is well-worth reading as conditions do vary and are wide.

If you are living with someone vulnerable or are just at home with your family, these guidelines give some sensible actions to follow:

  1. Minimise as much as possible the time other family members spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  2. Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from people you live with and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible. If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.
  3. If you do share a toilet and bathroom with others, it is important that they are cleaned after use every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities first.
  4. If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while they are present. If you can, you should take your meals back to your room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If you are using your own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
  5. It is understood that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.

Sensibly, if the rest of your household stringently follow advice on social distancing and minimise the risk of spreading the virus within the home by following the advice above, there is no need for them to also shield alongside you.

Even if you are not living with a vulnerable person, you are now expected to stringently follow guidance on social distancing.

The main criteria to social distancing are described below:

They are to:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  • Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services