The difference between social distancing and self-isolation

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

Social distancing is about ways to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus. It’s advised for everyone, and strongly advised if you are over 70, pregnant, have a long-term condition or a weakened immune system.

This is about significantly limiting face-to-face contact if you can and making sure that essential visitors (such as health care services, carers or family members) follow handwashing and hygiene advice scrupulously.

You can go outside for a walk to the park or into your garden if you stay more than 2 metres from others.


Self-isolation, also called staying at home
, applies to people who have symptoms of coronavirus and people who live with them.

In addition to social distancing steps, this involves:

  • Staying at home and not going out. Do not leave your home to walk (such as in a park) or to visit public places. You can go into your garden if you have one.
  • If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.  If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
  • Sleeping alone and using a separate bathroom if you are able to.
  • Not having any visitors.
  • Ask people to leave deliveries for you outside.

For the latest information please keep checking the following pages on the NHS website:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice