Who? SA

As SA opens up, Karim stresses need to mitigate COVID-19 risk to elderly

With international borders reopening from Thursday, travel is expected to increase but so was the risk for the virus to spread.

Infectious disease specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim. Picture: @UKZN/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – Infectious disease specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim said that balance was key when it came to the needs of elderly people, who were most vulnerable to COVID-19 and were largely isolated for their safety.

With international borders reopening from Thursday, travel is expected to increase but so was the risk for the virus to spread.

On International Day for Older Persons on Thursday, experts have reiterated that the elderly remained vulnerable as long as there was no vaccine.

Karim is urging caution: “As we are going into the holidays and we are going to travel to visit loved ones, we are going to see a situation where the elderly will be at a higher-risk situation. But I think if we keep to our prevention measures, we can mitigate that risk.

FORGOTTEN ELDERLY

Linda Twala, who has been looking after elderly people in Alexandra for years, said that it was always distressing to see how they were often forgotten by their families.

Twala said that the pandemic had made things worse and often many people went to bed with an empty stomach.

“The impact that was done by this COVID was tough, they will never forget it.”

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, nearly 60% of those who died in hospital with severe COVID-19 symptoms were 60 years and older.

More than 24,000 elderly people have been hospitalised since the outbreak.

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