Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is essentially a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions prescribed to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. It generally entails maintaining physical distance and limiting the number of times and places in which people come into close contact with each other. These precautions are enforced on all individuals and service providers, with the exception of those providing essential services.

The term “isolation” is used when people who have already contracted an infectious disease, avoid contact with everyone. While the term “quarantine” is used when people are kept under observation if they have been in contact with a sick person. It is interesting to note that these practices are not new. There is historical evidence that isolation practices date as far back as 5BC when lepers were confined to colonies.

The World Health Organisation has, however, pointed out that there is a big difference between physical and social isolation, and that it is vitally important that we remain connected with friends, family and colleagues during a time of isolation. So, whether you are ‘Zooming’ in on your mates, or are more productive at work than ever because you have access to a holistic, integrated network system courtesy of your employer, technology yet again comes to the rescue.

Sadly, long-established, reassuring practices such as handshaking, hugging, holding hands or even that blissful massage, have become a distant memory. A new way of thinking has emerged – the no-touch environment.  Contactless authentication solutions  are being adopted at breakneck speed in critical environments where previously touchpads and key cards were the norm. It is now unimaginable to think that hospital workers should gain access to their workstations by all touching the same surface.

Similarly, there is an upsurge in interest in new self-service and self-checkout technologies in retail environments, precisely because it limits the handling of merchandise at point-of-sale. A reduction in the handling of goods means a reduction in the chances of getting infected.

Various papers by imminent psychologists caution us to be aware of the potential implications of being deprived of social contact. The resulting stress and anxiety are exacerbated by a poor understanding of the reasons behind a lockdown, lack of access to food and other essential supplies and no, or limited, access to telecommunication services to ensure social connection.

Added to this equation, are the children. Young children can still explore the world at home and be taught to ‘play nicely’ with their friends, but for adolescents, it is different. During this phase, their peer group becomes a more critical social construct than even their own family. So, they may feel the isolation most keenly. Time to consider topping up the airtime, Dad.

We feel for the parents who are suddenly in a position where they have to home school, cook and clean and keep their kids entertained.

Want to balance social distancing and speed and quality of connectivity for safe but productive employees? Contact

Altron Bytes Managed Solutions

1 Vlak Street, Selby Ext. 5, 2092, Gauteng,
South Africa
PO Box 3591, Johannesburg, 2000,
Gauteng, South Africa

+27 (11) 373 4000

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