Research published in the Lancet (Medical Journal) is likely to fuel the demand for the 2-metre social distancing rule to be relaxed. Nicola Sturgeon’s answer to this was to say “You might be reading or hearing in the media today some voices saying that one metre is sufficient, so I want to take the opportunity today to stress that the clear and the strong advice from the Scottish Government is to stay two metres apart from those in other households.” Simon Clarke the Housing Minister also made it clear that the government was ‘determined’ to keep the 2- metre distancing rule saying that it was a way of keeping people safe.
The research suggests however, that by reducing the social distancing rule by half would still reduce the risk of infection by 80 per cent.
It is known that the guidance from WHO stipulates a one metre distancing rule as followed in France and Italy. Britain however is one of the only countries opting for a 2-metre rule with others using the 1.5 metre distancing rule such as Australia whose death rate is considerably lower than Britain’s.
Research has shown that there is about a 1.3 per cent chance of contracting the virus when being 2 metres away from an infected person but reducing this gap by half raised the risk to only 2.6 per cent. This still equates to an 80 per cent reduction in risk.
This 2-metre rule makes it harder for some businesses to operate causing workers to be furloughed and/or made redundant. Surely business who cannot adhere to the 2-metre rule but could operate to a 1-metre distancing rule should be able to do so if employees and customers were aware of the slight increased risk and were willing to take that risk.