A new norm given this pandemic is always washing hands, wearing a mask and of course, keeping social distancing. In most cases, it is mandatory to maintain this to avoid further infections of COVID19. Infographic source: Statista
Read these first:-
- Outbreak 2021: Comparing Covid-19 Vaccines Based on Efficacy Number
- Outbreak 2021: Part 2 Unexpected COVID19 Scare At The Office
- Outbreak 2020: Stupidity When the Law Is Seriously Clear
The Definition of Social Distancing
When one talks about social distancing, what constitutes it and how far the distance should be?
Physical distancing is the practice of staying at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others to avoid catching a disease such as COVID-19.
As noted above, “social distancing” is a term that was used earlier in the pandemic as many people stayed home to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Now as communities are reopening and people are in public more often, physical distancing is used to stress the importance of maintaining physical space when in public areas.
Interesting in Malaysia, the social distancing is only limited to 1 meter of which is forgotten once you enter into crowded places like the hypermarket or the wet market.
Why Social Distancing in the First Place?
If one asks why one needs to keep a distance from others, it is all about common sense. It is all about self-quarantine from others and this reduces the chances of getting an infection from others.
COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.
The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
If you are sick with COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from other people until it is safe to be around others.
COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Social distancing helps limit opportunities to come in contact with contaminated surfaces and infected people outside the home.
Although the risk of severe illness may be different for everyone, anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community. In addition to practicing everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread in communities.
Violations in Malaysia
Failure to keep distance from others is nothing new – if you go to the hypermarket, you will need to queue up at the entrance with a 1-meter distance apart. But then once you are in and go to the vegetable section of the hypermarket, you are literally standing next to each other picking up the goods. It is the same for all other sections in the hypermarket. Then when you queue up to make the payment, the 1-meter distancing is back to be enforced. It does not make any sense.
Not surprisingly, it also forms the highest number of violation:-
Failure to observe physical distancing was the top violation recorded by the movement control order (MCO) compliance operation taskforce yesterday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
Of the 44 individuals compounded, 39 failed to observe physical distancing, three failed to prepare customer registration tools and one each for face mask and inter-state crossing violations.
Violations at Workplace
Whilst in my workplace, social distancing is enforced to some extent with some of the colleagues still working from home and meetings are held online to reduce close interactions, the same cannot be said of others who are working in other offices in the same building.
In particular, another office located a floor down my working floor that has a large number of workers who gives a damn on social distancing. The building management has put up a number of notices on social distancing and this included limiting the total number of people that can be inside the lift at any one time. Markers have been placed inside the lift that only allows 4 people to be inside the lift at any one time.
However, these notices and markers do little to these people from the floor down where they will crowd up to 8 -9 people in the lift and this happens on daily basis.
If you tell them off about the need for social distancing, they will ignore you and keeping stuffing the lift till it is full. Rightfully we have made further complaints to the building management but unfortunately, there are not enough security guards to be watching the lift all the time as they have other duties as well.
Perhaps we will consider lodging a formal report to the authorities on those who do not adhere to the rules by calling 03-88868110 or 03-88868126 or to the nearest police station may just do the trick.
Whether one likes it or not, the normal daily routines are no longer applicable after the start of the COVID19 pandemic. We have to continue to adhere to the new norms for some considerable time. Washing our hands often, wearing a mask when we are in public and keep social distancing whenever possible.
Of course, there were will be selfish idiots who only think of themselves and ignore these new norms – they will not wear a mask, will not wash their hands and will not adhere to social distancing. It is not an issue of lack of awareness.
They are the real trouble makers and the ones who increase the risk of cross-infection. Thankfully they are in the minority but all it takes is for one to cause a massive increase of infection.