Step 3 of the Covid Roadmap has come into play today! The biggest issue which has come about is that hugging is now back! It has officially been 420 days since you could legally hug someone outside of your bubble! As social events are getting back into the swing of things, here are our tips on how to hug safely and without the awkwardness of working out whether the person is hugging or not!
Experts are still ruling hugging as a ‘high-risk procedure’ with the new Indian variant making its way through the UK. The prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has today issued a warning for people to use, a “heavy dose of caution” when hugging and going indoors, so if you are worried about the virus, then certainly don’t mix indoors or hug people.
If you are going to hug someone, make sure that it’s a small number of people who you care about. The risk depends on who you are hugging, so one should be wary of hugging all of your friends every time you meet.
Professor Sally Jane Cutler from the University of East London said; “I think we have to be very conserved about who we choose to hug.”
This is along the same lines as Professor Cath Noakes, who sits on the SAGE board of government advisors.
“Perhaps don’t hug everybody you know. If you are going to hug somebody, restrict it to very small numbers of close family who perhaps you would really value a hug from.”
While the government is restricting hugging to your group of 30 now allowed to meet together, their new advice highlights that everyone should take care of people vulnerable to Covid. Hugging elderly people may still be resigned to the hugging curtain invented last year!
Keep it short and sweet§
“Longer periods of close contact increase the risk of transmission, but remember that even brief contact can spread Covid-19 – and there is no such thing as a fully safe period of close contact,”
Don’t go for face-to-face
Professor Noakes recommends to, “Try and avoid being face to face, so perhaps if you turn your face away slightly, and even wearing a mask could help,”
“The reality is that when you hug someone you are very close to them and we know the virus is in people’s breath and you are very close to that breath at that moment.”
One thing you can do is to ensure you wear a face mask when hugging someone vulnerable.
Keep it outside
Fresh air is a wonderful healer and helps reduce the risks of spreading Covid. The governments own advice is to try and ensure any physical contact occurs outside,
“When people are outside and physically distanced from each other, the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person.”
If you do want to hug inside, the government reccomends that the area is well ventilated;
“Open windows and doors, or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.”