Sri Lanka issues COVID-19 guidelines for its elderly

Nurses wearing facemasks cross a road as they push a trolley filled with leaflets outside the entrance of Sri Lanka’s Infectious Diseases Hospital near Colombo on March 17, 2020. LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka issued a set of guidelines to its elderly citizens today on how to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As research worldwide has shown that the elderly and younger children are at most risk from the novel coronavirus, the country’s elderly population of three-million must act responsibly, the Government Information Department said in a statement.

Quoting the Sri Lanka Association of Geriatric Medicine (SLAGM) President Dr Padma Gunaratne, the government spelt out the following guidelines:

  1. Avoid contact with others as this virus is very dangerous to you as an elderly person.
  2. Get your medicine from a nearby pharmacy through a third party and minimise visits to hospital clinics.
  3. Regularly wash your hands using soap (especially after using currency notes or coins and upon returning home)
  4. Maintain a minimum distance of three feet when having conversations with others.
  5. Avoid hugging and kissing other members of the family.
  6. Cover the mouth and nose using the elbow when sneezing or coughing.
  7. Avoid inviting guests to the house and avoid meeting in groups.
  8. Wear a face mask when going out of the house for an essential matter.
  9. Regularly drink warm water and avoid drinking cool water.
  10. Keep the mind relaxed, eat healthy food and get a good night’s sleep.

These guidelines are applicable to all elderly people living in private residences as well as those residing in state-run and privately owned elderly homes, the statement said.

United Nations (UN) data from 2018 shows that approximately 9.67 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population is above the age of 65 years. (Colombo/Mar24/2020)