Social distancing, containment and pandemic – what do they all mean?

Social distancing, containment and pandemic – what do they all mean?

As the coronavirus continues to dominate headlines around the world, here is a glossary of common words and terms used in connection with the disease.

– Coronaviruses: A group of viruses that causes a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and more serious respiratory conditions.

– Covid-19: The name of the respiratory illness caused by the latest type of coronavirus. This particular type was identified in Wuhan City, China, in January 2020.

– Self-isolation: The act of remaining in your own home and avoiding contact with other people as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus.

– Social distancing: Action taken to mitigate the spread of the disease by reducing people’s contact with each other. 

Examples include closing schools, encouraging staff to work from home and reducing the number of large-scale public gatherings.

– Community transmission: When a person contracts the virus despite not having travelled to an affected area such as China, or not being in contact with someone known to have the disease.

– Pandemic: A worldwide spread of a new disease.

– Epidemic: The increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in a population in a geographical area.

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– Endemic: The constant presence of a disease in a population within a certain area.

– Outbreak: The number of disease cases that exceed what is normally expected.

– Containment phase: Steps introduced to prevent the virus from spreading for as long as possible, such as detecting early cases and trying to establish who the infected person has been in contact with.

– Delay phase: Measures introduced to reduce the peak impact of the virus and slow its spread, such restrictions on public gatherings.

– Mitigation phase: Providing hospitals with the support they need to maintain essential services as the virus spreads, and help those who are ill in the community to reduce the overall impact of the disease on society.

– Category 1 traveller: People who should self-isolate, regardless of showing any symptoms, if they have travelled to the Hubei Province in China, Iran, northern Italy, or Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea.

– Category 2 traveller: Travellers returning from countries including Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

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