Andrew Neil discusses Covid booster jabs on This Morning
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From Monday, the advice on having close contact with friends and family is changing for the first time in over a year. From May 17, it is no longer advised that you cannot hug or have close contact with those outside of your household, and for many, this will be the first time they have embraced family or friends for months.
The fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently took to the podium at Downing Street to tell the nation that hugs would soon be a reality again sums up their importance for our wellbeing.
The benefits of hugging are huge – not only does it signal a close bond between people, but it’s also proven to lower stress and blood pressure.
Mental health charity Mind reported in 2020: “More than two thirds of adults with mental health problems reported that their mental health got worse during lockdown.
“As a direct consequence of the pandemic and all that follows, many people who were previously well will now develop mental health problems.”
But above all, hugs make us feel happier, secure and trusting of those around us.
And, with a third of all adults having both vaccine doses, it seems like high time people should be allowed to interact closely with their loved ones.
But as the risk of coronavirus still runs high throughout the UK due to prevalence of the new India variant, experts are warning the public to exercise caution and be as safe as possible even in the face of loosening restrictions.
But how can we keep safer while enjoying closer contact with friends and family?
Hussain Abdeh, Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct told Express.co.uk: “It is very important to remember that there are several variants of COVID-19, and the effectiveness of this vaccine has not been proven to prevent all of them.
“People who have been vaccinated will be at a much lesser risk of catching the virus, but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
“Vulnerable people, such as the sick and the elderly, should exercise extreme caution when it comes to hugging others.
“They should only do this with very close friends and family, who have already had the vaccination.
“If hugging is not required, it is still advisable not to do it at this stage.
“If you do wish to hug someone close to you, avoiding face-to-face contact is an essential safety measure to have in place.
“When you hug, place your heads over each other’s shoulders so you are not breathing in the other person’s face.
“It is also highly advisable to keep your mask on while hugging another person.
“To practice extra caution, carry hand sanitiser with you and sanitise your hands after hugging.
“The coronavirus thrives on human contact, which is why social distancing has been in place so strictly for over a year.
“It is of the greatest importance that the public realises that this lift in restrictions does not mean an elimination of risk when hugging someone.”
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