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Is it REALLY unsafe to take a jog around the block?

15 April 2020 3:59 PM

Under current government lockdown restrictions, South Africans are prohibited from taking exercise outside.

Take a look at your social media feed and the chances are it's filled with videos of people embarking on imaginative, often rather amusing, 'home workouts'.

Government has made it clear that, in its bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19, for the duration of the lockdown exercising outdoors is a no-no (for humans and dogs alike!)

And so whether it's doing squats with a bag of potatoes or running in circles in the back garden, South Africans are finding ways to keep fit while adhering to the order to stay at home.

But just how dangerous would it be to allow to relax this particular restriction and allow those who wanted to take a quick jog around the block?

John Maytham posed the question to Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

It's a far lower risk than being next to someone who's coughing or sneezing...so in terms of outdoor transmission, the risks are low.

Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute - University of Edinburgh

Bauld says different jurisdictions impose different restrictions based on their specific circumstances and adds that while airborne transmission is not a huge risk, some countries have taken the decision to ban outdoor exercise to 'be on the safe side'.

In areas where you have a lot of people who might come into contact with each other if they're allowed to run or walk or even cycle outside.

Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute - University of Edinburgh

The reason why some jurisdictions, like South Africa, have taken this decision is to absolutely enforce social distancing to the maximum.

Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute - University of Edinburgh

But Bauld admits that while the end goal may justify a ban on outdoor exercise, in the long term it could prove counter-productive.

From a public health perspective, there are huge benefits to exercise. It actually improves our ability to fight off viruses.

Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute - University of Edinburgh

Bauld says the lifting of lockdown in South Africa at the end of the month will be much needed in terms of people getting outdoors again.

I think that release, to allow people to get fresh air and to get exercise...will be so important.

Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health in The Usher Institute - University of Edinburgh

Listen to the full interview below:


15 April 2020 3:59 PM

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