Easter at home and infection control
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Easter is just around the corner and this year we will all be at home. Although we must follow the advice about preventing transmission of coronavirus, do we need to have a sedentary Easter? Can we enjoy ourselves while respecting the official guidelines to prevent infection?
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The basic pillars of the advice are good hygiene and social distancing. Good hygiene means being careful about your own hand hygiene and cough etiquette. The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends keeping a physical distance of at least 2 metres apart and not gathering in groups larger than five people (except for people who normally live in the same household). This is primarily about prolonged contact, not just walking past each other.
The recommendations apply outdoors - in parks, on beaches, in hiking areas and on the ski slopes. Good infection control measures are essential in the current situation, but we also need to maintain good physical and mental health. It is good to be physically active and to be outside. Perhaps you could try alternative walking routes and find places where few people go? As long as everyone follows the recommendations for good hygiene and social distance, the risk of infection is low. The risk of infection is considered to be lower when staying outdoors than when many people gather in confined areas indoors, provided that close contact with others is avoided.
“To avoid congestion in car parks and on public transport, we recommend walking or cycling whenever possible,” says Are Stuwitz Berg at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Play and other activities
Why not use playgrounds in backyards and public spaces? These can become welcome social arenas, where it is possible to maintain a distance. It is very important to address the need for movement and play among children and adolescents. Healthy children can spend time together both inside and outside, but in small groups. Parents should help their children by arranging for this and reminding children to wash their hands thoroughly and often. It is especially important to wash hands thoroughly both before and after play, as well as before eating or drinking.
Some places have communal facilities such as toilets and kiosks. The operators have a particular responsibility to follow necessary infection control measures. This means making sure that both the employees and those who use the facilities can keep a safe distance and can wash their hands with soap and water. Thorough cleaning is also important.
Visiting family and friends
Most of us enjoy visiting friends and relatives during the holidays and many people want to receive visitors. It is important to consider how many people will be gathered and how close they will be to each other. Since we know that some people are more at risk with COVID-19 disease, everyone should think twice about whether a visit at home is appropriate. A walk around the neighbourhood or a meeting in a park gives a lower risk of infection than meeting at home, and can be a good alternative. Even when a visit would not be wise, it is still important to keep in touch with friends and relatives.
“Telephones and access to internet communication solutions rarely been more welcome than they are now,” says Are S. Berg.
Can students and pupils return home during the Easter holidays?
Unnecessary domestic travel and use of public transport should be avoided, but as the Minister of Justice said at a recent press conference; "Going home to the family is not necessarily unnecessary." A condition is that you are healthy and travel in a way that allows you to keep social distance.
“When many people go outside, it is very important that everyone shows consideration and follows the recommendations given by the health authorities. Then we reduce both our own and others' risk of being infected. Therefore: wash your hands, keep your distance and avoid crowds, but remember to enjoy yourself and enjoy the Easter holiday,” concludes Stuwitz Berg.