• Social distancing is an effective protective measure against the new coronavirus, says the World Health Organization.
  • It recommends people keep at least 1 metre apart.
  • Around the world, measures to ensure people observe this are in force.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends people should keep at least 1 metre away from each other to protect against coronavirus. This kind of social distancing, together with regular handwashing, is key in efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

It’s estimated that about a third of the world’s population is under lockdown in their own homes, and, in many countries, social distancing is being enforced by the police. However, people still need to go out to buy food and medicine

Here’s a selection of images showing social distancing in practice across the globe.

People maintain the one-meter distance in-between each other as they stand in a line to buy groceries at a supermarket during the time government lifted the curfew, as the number of people tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country increases, in Colombo, Sri Lanka March 24, 2020
Outdoor space: People stand 1 metre apart as they queue to buy groceries in Colombo, Sri Lanka, during a break in a government-imposed coronavirus curfew.
Image: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
People queue standing in circles drawn to maintain safe distance as they wait to buy grocery items during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kolkata, India, March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
Social circles: Grocery shoppers keep a safe distance in Kolkata, India.
Image: REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
Staff of food delivery companies sit on social distancing chairs due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, as they wait for their costumers' orders at a department store in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Food to go: Bangkok delivery drivers wait for orders at a food store in Thailand’s capital.
Image: REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa
Passengers practice 'social distancing' at a main Miami International Airport terminal after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily halted flights arriving at New York City airports due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Miami, Florida, U.S., March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Waiting room: Passengers at Miami International Airport distance from one another after flights to New York were cancelled because of the high number of coronavirus cases in the city.
Image: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Men maintain safe social distancing while praying at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Redmond, Washington, U.S., March 18, 2020.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Keeping faith: Worshippers at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond, Washington, US.
Image: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

Journalists practice social distancing outside a meeting to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Breaking news: Journalists wait to hear the outcome of a meeting about coronavirus economic aid legislation at the US Congress in Washington DC.
Image: REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert
Nurses are distancing themselves socially as they line up for donated lunches, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Meals apart: Nurses line up for donated lunches in London, UK.
Image: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez