Risk communication guidelines for elderly, adults and people
with underlying medical conditions
March 19, 2020 07:00 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 19: The virus that causes COVID-19 infects people of all ages. However, evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease.
These are older people (that is people over 60 years old); and those with underlying medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer).
The risk of severe disease gradually increases with age starting from around 40 years. It’s important that adults in this age range protect themselves and in turn protect others that may be more vulnerable. WHO has issued advice for these two groups and for community support to ensure that they are protected from COVID-19 without being isolated, stigmatized, left in a position of increased vulnerability or unable to access basic provisions and social care.
This advice covers the subject of receiving visitors, planning for supplies of medication and food, going out safely in public and staying connected with others through phone calls or other means. It is essential that these groups are supported by their communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO emphasizes that all people must protect themselves from COVID-19, which will also protect other.
Recommendations and advice for the public
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not travelled from an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not been in contact with an infected patient, your risk of infection is low. It is understandable that you may feel anxious about the outbreak. Get the facts from reliable sources to help you accurately determine your risks so that you can take reasonable precautions (see Frequently Asked Questions).
Seek guidance from WHO, your healthcare provider, your national public health authority or your employer for accurate information on COVID-19 and whether COVID-19 is circulating where you live. It is important to be informed of the situation and take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your family. If you are in an area where there are cases of COVID-19 you need to take the risk of infection seriously.
Follow the advice of WHO and guidance issued by national and local health authorities. For most people, COVID-19 infection will cause mild illness however, it can make some people very ill and, in some people, it can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are at risk for severe disease.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading
Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.
Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.