A surprising admission is hidden deep in the government's Corona Virus Roadmap to Recovery plan.
It turns out that the two-meter rule is not a rule at all.
The 51-page document published last month said: “Public Health England recommends that you stay two meters away as a precaution.
& # 39; However, this is not a rule and science is complex. The important thing is not to be too close to people for as long as you can. & # 39;
A 51-page document published last month found that, as a precautionary measure, but not usually, Public Health England recommends trying to stay two meters away from people. (Picture from a picture agency)
However, this loose leadership – just a "precaution" – has become the backbone of the government's policy of social distancing.
People are allowed to meet in groups of six – but by law, they must be two meters apart.
Schools were told to reduce classes to half their normal size in order to keep students at a distance of two meters or as close as possible.
And employers are allowed to get their employees back to work – but only if they are "Covid-proof", which means that there is a distance of two meters between the desks.
The official guidelines for employers say: "If it is not possible to keep jobs two meters apart, companies should consider whether this activity needs to continue for the company to work."
Britain is one of the few countries in the world where people are asked to stay two meters apart, which, according to an increasing number of business leaders and politicians, is holding back the economy.
Australia, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have introduced a 1.5 meter rule. And France, Denmark, China and Austria have a social distance rule of just one meter.
Tory MP Greg Clark, chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, called for a rethink yesterday. He told the BBC World at One show that we should "have the courage to change if the evidence recommends it."
The problem is that the evidence on this is far from certain. The researchers agree that the farther apart people are, the lower the risk of transmission. However, most admit that it is not clear where exactly the “danger threshold” is.
This threshold is significantly influenced by the length of time a person stays in this zone, the direction in which they are looking, whether they are indoors or outdoors and whether they are adults or children.
Loose leadership has become the backbone of the government's policy of social distancing. (Picture from a picture agency)
Back in March, when the British committee of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergency (Sage) worked out the country's response to the crisis, it asked scientists from a subcommittee – the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag) – to draw a paper on social issues Distance.
In this article by Professor Peter Horby from Oxford University, Ben Killingsley from University College London and Lisa Ritchie, Head of Infection Prevention and Control at NHS England, only four good sources of social distancing could be found – and each indicated that the risk beyond that was minimal one meter or 1.5 meters.
One was a 1948 U.S. study of how germs traveled when people coughed, sneezed, and talked in the middle of a room.
It concluded that "less than 10 percent" of the droplets loaded with bacteria traveled "up to 1.68 meters". Another found from 2017 that the risk of being exposed to droplets in the air is much greater within 1.5 meters.
A third of 2009 was found when someone spoke. 90 percent of the droplets move only 0.3 meters – and even a cough drives only 15 percent of the droplets 0.5 meters.
The latest source, a 2004 study of eight SARS patients in hospital, found that transmission can be more than a meter away, although this is the case for a sick healthcare patient.
Nervtag's scientists concluded: "In terms of the risk of transmission through close contact in the community, one meter is a minimum, two meters are precautionary measures."
This “precautionary” two-meter threshold now determines how the country recovers.
Experts say that the difference between one meter and two meters is crucial for economic development. One meter distance on a train or bus would be pretty easy, two meters means that the cars are practically empty.
Desks in schools and offices are usually at least one meter apart. Two meters considerably limit the number of people in a room.
And in restaurants, hotels, pubs, theaters, and cinemas, it would be ruinous to insist that customers stay two meters apart.
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