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Coronavirus questions and answers: what you can and cannot do

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Two workers outside Belfast City Hall at lunch time yesterday

Two workers outside Belfast City Hall at lunch time yesterday

Staff at the Medicare Pharmacy on the Belfast’s Ormeau Road

Staff at the Medicare Pharmacy on the Belfast’s Ormeau Road

People in Belfast city centre

People in Belfast city centre

A traffic sign at Crescent Link in Londonderry

A traffic sign at Crescent Link in Londonderry

Two workers outside Belfast City Hall at lunch time yesterday

Why is it necessary to follow social distancing rules?

Covid-19 is spread when an infected individual coughs or sneezes, with the virus-packed droplets either breathed in by someone else in close proximity or picked up from surface contact having touched the face with unwashed hands.

Reducing the amount of non-essential contact people will have with others in daily life - through working from home or avoiding socialising - helps to lower the potential of spreading the virus and eases the strain on the health service.

What are the key rules of social distancing?

The advice is that people should work from home where possible.

Public transport should only be used when essential and avoiding the rush hour peak when trains and buses are at their busiest.

Social gatherings with family and friends, either at home or in cafes, pubs, restaurants and other small venues, should be avoided.

Can you still go outside?

Going to the supermarket for groceries or the pharmacy for medication is still allowed as long as you do not display any symptoms.

However, it is important when doing so that you remain at least more than 2m apart from others while shopping. Many other leisure facilities have now closed. However walking the dog or going for a run is allowed while maintaining the 2m distance rule.

How should you assist elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours while social distancing?

Vulnerable groups such as those with a pre-existing medical condition or over the age of 70 have been advised by the Government to remain indoors for 12 weeks. While this may prove to be a time of great loneliness, contact could be maintained with a regular phone or video call, with food and groceries left outside the house to be collected.

Are you allowed to exercise?

The Public Health Agency recommends that people continue to remain both physically and mentally active while observing social distancing. People should open windows to let in fresh air and those with gardens should get outside as much as possible.

It is encouraged to try to exercise in the home if practical.

Belfast Telegraph