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COVID-19: Social Distancing, Self-isolation, and Care for Children

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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus Covid-19, there have been several new terms that will require some time for people to get used to and understand.


Some of the terms include restricted movement and self-isolation.

Both terms are mistakenly used interchangeably by a lot of people, so in this article, we will be defining both and teaching you how they work.

What is restricted movement

Restricted movements only mean deliberately avoiding social situations and contact with other people as much as possible. Sometimes, it is called self-quarantine.

The reason you do this is to stop other people from getting infected by the coronavirus.

You must restrict your movements for the meantime if you do not have symptoms of the novel coronavirus, but you are:

  • A travel partner, or close contact of a confirmed case of the Covid-19 coronavirus
  • Visiting or returning from places with recorded outbreak


Self-isolation means remaining indoors and fully avoiding contact with other individuals. You must do this if you have noticed any symptoms of coronavirus. The reason for this is to stop other individuals from getting it.

You will need to engage in self-isolation:

  • If you have any symptoms of coronavirus
  • If you are yet to get tested for coronavirus
  • While you await the results of your test
  • If you have been tested and had a positive test result for the 2019 coronavirus

How should you restrict your movements?

If you are feeling well, but you have been in any close contact with a person who has tested positive to coronavirus, you will have to restrict your movements.

You must also limit your movements if you have visited a country with a recorded outbreak. This is to stop other people who are not infected from getting the coronavirus.

Restricted movements mean to avoid all forms of contact with other people as often as possible by staying at your hotel or at home.

You do not have to feel caged as you can still go outside for short walks, runs to short distance alone or cycles alone too. But you should not spend any time being in close contact with other individuals.

Members of other household do not have to restrict their movements unless they are instructed to do so


  • Do not go or let your kids go to school, college, or work.
  • Do not use any form of public transport.
  • Do not go for any meetings, group events, social gatherings, or crowded places.
  • Do not entertain any visitors at your home or hotel room.
  • Do not go for any shopping – where possible, or to order your groceries and toiletries online or have some friends or family drop them off.
  • Deliberately stay away from older people, pregnant women, and anyone with long-term medical conditions.
  • Do not travel within or outside your country.

How should you self-isolate?

If you develop any of the symptoms of Covid-19, you will have to self-isolate and place a phone call through to your doctor. Do not go to a local pharmacy or hospital if you are not showing symptoms.

The doctor you get through to over the phone will also assess you over the phone. When they are convinced that you have to be tested for the coronavirus, they will organize a test.


You will self-isolate, then it means that you have the coronavirus or are exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. This could be done before you get tested for covid-19, while you await your test results or when there is a confirmed positive result.

Most people who have the coronavirus will have only mild symptoms and will feel better within weeks. However, even though the signs of the virus are mild, the virus can still be spread to other people.

If you must self-isolate, make sure to stay indoors and avoid all forms of contact with other people.

Follow the following advice to protect both yourself and others from the virus.

You can only stop self-isolation when you are sure that both of these apply to you:

  • If you have no had any fever for five days
  • It has been a day past 14 days since you first showed any symptoms


  • Remain at home, in a well-ventilated room with the windows open.
  • Keep away from every other person in your home.
  • Check your symptoms to be sure they are the symptoms of Covid-19 – call a doctor if they become worse.
  • Call your doctor on the phone and have them visit you if you need to – do not visit them.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze using a tissue (carefully dispose after use) – clean your hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Properly wash your hands.
  • Use your towel – do not make the mistake of sharing a towel with other people.
  • Clean your bedroom and living area every day with a disinfectant or household cleaner.


  • Do not go to school, work, public areas, or religious services.
  • Do not share any of your things.
  • Do not use taxis or public transport.
  • Do not invite any visitors to your house.
  • Keep away from pregnant women, older people, and also anyone with long-term medical conditions.
  • It’s OK for family, friends, or delivery drivers to drop off necessary supplies or food simply. Make sure you are not in the same living space or room as them, when they make the drop-off.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor
  • If your symptoms begin to develop or get worse, call your doctor.
  • If you live with other people and you are self-isolating do these:
  • Only stay in a room with a wide window that you can open.
  • If you can, make use of a toilet and bathroom that no other person in the house makes use of.
  • If you need to share a bathroom with other people, do well to use the bathroom last and ensure to clean it thoroughly.
  • Make sure not to share any items you have used with others.

Things you must not share include:

  • Food
  • Dishes
  • Drinking glasses
  • Cups
  • Knives, forks, and spoons
  • Towels
  • Bedding

Keeping well

Make sure to keep yourself mobile by being active, getting up, and moving around your house as much as possible.


If you are lucky enough to have a backyard, garden or balcony, you may go out and enjoy some fresh air, but keep no less than 2 meters away from other people.

Stay hydrated at all times, and try to avoid drinking alcohol if you are not feeling well.

You may discover that it is helpful to stay in touch with family and friends by phone or on social media.

Self-isolation can be frustrating and tiresome. It may affect your feelings and mood. You may feel worried, low, or have issues sleeping.

Caring for a child or anyone else in self-isolation

You may need to care for a child, friend, family member, or a person who needs support if they are in self-isolation. This will not be easy, but you can follow the advice below.

  • Stay away from these people as much as possible (not less than 2 metres) and try to avoid touching them (opt for communication via phone for now)
  • Wash your hands carefully each time you have contact with the person
  • If you have a face mask handy, wear one and always have them on if you have to be in the same room
  • If you have to to clean phlegm or spit from the face of these people, make sure to use clean tissue, dispose it properly, and wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Put the sick people in a well-ventilated room alone
  • Limit their movement within the house
  • Get them to use a separate toilet if possible
  • Reduce the number of caregivers
  • Keep sick people away from older people, pregnant women, and people with long-term conditions.
  • If possible, have only one person looking after the individual self-isolating. This, ideally, should be someone in good health.

We hope you found this useful. Leave a comment below.

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