Coronavirus: What is social distancing?

Last updated at 06:39
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WATCH: What does social distancing mean?

Social distancing is one of the pieces of advice being suggested to help limit the spread of coronavirus - but what does the phrase actually mean?

Quite simply, it means making sure there's enough space between people who are well and those who might not be well.

The aim of it is to help stop germs spreading, including viruses such as the coronavirus.

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People sitting apart from each other on a London Underground train

As part of it, it can mean that schools, workplaces and public areas shut down for a while to help give people more space.

Big gatherings such as gigs or sports events can also be cancelled.

It can also mean simply standing a little further away from each other in queues or public spaces.

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People in Italy queuing, but keeping space around each other to limit the spread of illness.
How can you tell if you're too close?

The World Health Organization says keeping at least one metre apart from someone who might be coughing or sneezing will help stop the coronavirus spreading - though health experts in the UK say people should stay at least two metres apart.

The coronavirus is spread by tiny droplets sprayed from the nose and mouth when someone who has it coughs or sneezes.

If these drops are inhaled or they enter someone's eyes, the virus can be passed on.

Keeping a metre - or two - away makes it less likely that the drops will spread from person to person.

If you can reach out and touch another person - then you might be too close to them!

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