Coronavirus self-isolation is now a real possibility for some UK residents, as the number of cases in the country rises to 51. The government said today it expects up to a fifth of the country’s workforce could be absent at the height of infections, as people avoid infecting others during the deadly outbreak.
Do partners and children need to self-isolate during a coronavirus outbreak?
Self-isolation requires people who have or suspect they have been infected by COVID-19 to stay at home.
The virus’ ability to spread between people via “aerosol” means it is vital for infected people to isolate themselves and avoid transmission to other, more vulnerable people.
People in self-isolation are required to stay at home, where they can work or rest.
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As the virus advances, people may find themselves living with someone told to self-isolate, whether it be a flatmate or family member.
Living with an infected individual ultimately introduces some challenges, as chances of infection could increase exponentially.
However, according to the Government, people living in close contact with an isolated individual need not isolate themselves.
Instead, they advise people to limit contact where possible and take precautions to avoid infection.
The government has advised people to take the following precautions:
– Wash hands frequently: People should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after contact with an infected person.
– Limit contact: Avoid touching people with a suspected COVID-19 infection and their immediate surroundings.
– Keep shared spaces ventilated: Keep windows opened as regularly as possible.
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– Wear a facemask (if advised): Some people will be supplied with face masks if they are at risk of infection, which they should wear around infected people. People should dispose of used masks in household waste.
– Do not invite visitors: Do not invite friends or family into an infected home, as they could spread the disease on exit.
– Keep away from vulnerable individuals: Chronically sick, older people (65 or over), and those with a weakened immune system should take extra care not to come into contact with infected people, considering alternative accommodation if necessary.
– Avoid sharing items: People should not share household items (utensils, drinking cups, bedding) with those suspected of having a COVID-19 infection.
– Bathing: Suspected COVID-19 infected people should have their own bathroom where possible, and use the bathroom last on a schedule where this is not possible, before a deep clean.
– Cleaning: People should regularly clean surfaces and places touched by an infected person, including kitchen countertops, bathrooms and bedrooms with a disinfecting solution such as bleach. People should also dispose of gloves or aprons used during disinfecting.
– Laundry: Clothing and bedsheets touched by an infected person should be washed at home at a high temperature (above 60 degrees) to kill bacteria. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
– Waste: People should place waste products touched by a suspected infected individual in a rubbish bag, which should be tied and placed in a second bag. Household waste should be kept inside until confirmation there is no COVID-19 infection present.
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