Why social distancing is a must

The government has announced a raft of measures to maintain social distancing in a bid to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has declared the next two weeks critical as numbers surge in other countries 14 days after 1st case is reported.

The order on social distancing has been extended to public transport vehicles, eatery joints and supermarkets.

PSVs and train commuter services will starting Monday maintain a 60 per cent maximum of sitting capacity to ward off the virus.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

WHO advises people to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.


When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Dr Reena Shah, Associate Professor and Infectious Disease Specialist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, who is advocating for a 6 feet distance if possible explains that Social distancing is the practice of purposefully reducing close contact between people.

This includes: remaining out of “congregate settings” as much as possible, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance of about 6 feet from others when possible. So actually it is physical distancing and using other means to continue social contact.

There are many ways you can connect with friends: phone calls, text messages, emails and video chats are all great virtual options.

While physical social distancing is important for our health, so is social interaction – trying alternative ways to stay connected is a good way to take care of your emotional health.

How important is social distancing in averting the spread of COVID-19?

Social distancing is crucial for preventing the spread of contagious illnesses such as COVID-19. This virus can spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact.

By minimizing the amount of close contact we have with others, we reduce our chances of catching the virus and spreading it to our loved ones and within our community,  Dr Reena Shah observes.

Social distancing is important for all of us, but those of us who are at a higher risk of serious complications caused by COVID-19 should be especially cautious about social distancing.

High risk of complications

People who are at high risk of complications include adults greater than 65 years of age, people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

She warns if there are high surges in the number of COVID-19 cases all at once, health care systems and resources could potentially become overwhelmed.

Efforts that help stop COVID-19 from spreading rapidly – like social distancing – help keep the number of people who are sick at one time as low as possible.

What is the best time to practice social distancing?

Dr Shah says the best time to begin social distancing is before an illness like COVID-19 becomes widespread throughout your community. At the workplace when possible, keeping about 3 feet of distance between yourself and others is key, she says.

It’s also important to practice other preventative measures such as washing hands, avoiding touching your face, coughing into your elbow and staying home if you feel sick.

Depending on your job and your community’s situation, she adds working from home may be an option.

Spending time out in the safest way possible

According to experts, it’s important to practice good hygiene, like hand-washing — which protects not only you but others as well.

When considering the ethics of spending time out and about, experts suggests reframing your view of hand-washing.

“Wash your hands before you go out to protect others, and wash them again after the activity to protect yourself”






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