18th March 2020

Self-isolation versus Social Distancing: What’s the Difference?

With all the talk about social distancing and self-isolation, it’s important to know the difference between the two.

Self-isolation applies

if you have symptoms of coronavirus, if you think you have been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19, or if you arrived from overseas after March 15, even if you’re showing no symptoms.

Self-isolation means:

  • You must stay home but a short walk with a mask each day is fine.
  • If you’re travelling home from the airport, personal transport is recommended
  • Staying away from other people in your home. Try to keep at least 3 steps (2 metres) away from others, particularly people over 70 or with a long-term condition
  • Sleeping alone if you can
  • Not having any visitors. Ask people to leave deliveries for you outside.

Self-isolation is crucial because it can take up to two weeks for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear.

Social distancing

is about ways to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus. It’s advised for everyone.

Fortunately it is easier in Townsville and North Queensland to achieve this than it is in Tokyo, Sydney, Mumbai.    It is also easy to become complacent and put the elderly or immune compromised people at risk,

Social distancing means:

  • Avoiding large crowds (but still going to work or school) and minimising physical contact.
  • Aiming to stay 1.5 metres away from other people while social distancing
  • Trips to the grocery store are fine, as long as you keep your distance from fellow shoppers and make it a quick trip.