Coronavirus Outbreak: Does Social Distancing Mean Ending Playtime?


As authorities continue to shut schools in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, parents are becoming concerned whether they should let children play?

Written By Riya Baibhawi | Mumbai | Updated On:
Coronavirus outbreak: Does social distancing mean ending playtime?

As governments globally continue to shut schools in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, parents are becoming increasingly concerned whether they should let their offsprings play or not. Another question that has emerged is whether or not social distancing means to end the playtime.

Dr Keri Althoff, a professor of epidemiology in the US, while talking to international media opined that social distancing requires everybody, both children and adults, to stay six feet apart at all times. She said that it means children should refrain from playing sports like football or Basketball. However, there may be some low-contact games like tennis or hide and seek that children could play together.

Avoid high-touch surfaces

Explaining the virus, she said that there was evidence that the disease could live on surfaces for days so it was best to avoid "high-touch surfaces", like playgrounds and sports equipment. Dr Katherine Semrau, an epidemiologist at AriadneLabs, UK reportedly said that the local governments needed to be clearer on what social distancing really meant.  She also said that parents should anticipate more restrictions in the coming days and plan with their children on how to handle them.  

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Angela Pyle from the University of Toronto said that it was important to let children use their imagination and have unstructured free time so that they don't feel too cooped up, international media reported. She reportedly added, “Often kids like to just play imaginary games, they like to just have little dolls or little animals or things, and they just play through these imaginative scenarios. And that kind of play works really well through FaceTime."

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Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has infected 2,19,351 and claimed 8,970 lives across the globe. China, with 80,928 cases and 3,245 remained the worst-hit country followed by Italy which reported 35,713 cases and 2,978 deaths till now. 

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