Seniors advised to ‘distance themselves’
Seniors were warned to find ways of distancing themselves, even from loved ones, as the coronavirus pandemic appears to hit elderly patients with health problems worst.
Charles Jeffers, the honorary director of Age Concern, said last night that seniors should consider “saying to their children and grandchildren, I know you love me — but it might be better if you didn't come by”.
Claudette Fleming, the executive director of the charity, has been in regular contact with Cheryl Peek-Ball, the Chief Medical Officer, as the pandemic unfolded globally.
Mr Jeffers said: “Our stance has to be more reaction than action. All we can do as a preventive is to practise social-distancing and even have people not visit.
“If a senior knows their immune system has been compromised, call their families and advise that maybe they ought to make their contact by telephone or WhatsApp and social media.
“What can you do? With some diseases, it takes bodily contact. This does not. You can just be in the same space and pick it up.”
The BBC reported yesterday that the Health Secretary in Britain, Matt Hancock, had said announcements were coming advising every Briton aged 70 and older to stay at home long-term to protect themselves.
Mr Jeffers called the prospect “a very, very sad thing”, but said the elderly needed to “take stock of their situation”.
“The key thing is being aware of your surroundings,” he said. “You might have to tell someone not to visit you, and to call on the phone instead.”