MANILA - Senior citizens must take extra precaution and avoid non-essential travel amid the novel coronavirus epidemic as they are at higher risk of contracting the disease, a lawmaker representing the elderly said Saturday.
Older adults must also practice prevention measures such as frequent proper handwashing and bathing regularly, said Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Francisco Datol Jr.
If experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), they must immediately go to the nearest hospital, he added.
"Delaying going to see the doctor may lead to untimely sickness or death," Datol said.
Cleaning the house and surroundings, especially areas where germs are more likely to spread, must also be observed.
The lawmaker also called on village officials to check the condition of their elderly constituents.
"Seniors are very active voters. It is but right that public servants reciprocate with even more vigor to attend to the needs of the elderly," Datol added.
The most common symptoms of the fast-spreading illness are fever, tiredness and dry cough, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea, the United Nation's health agency added.
"Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness," WHO said.
As of Friday, the Philippines has 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19- 3 Chinese nationals and 2 Filipinos.
The latest confirmed infection is a 62-year-old Filipino man who experienced coughs on Feb. 25 and was brought to a Manila hospital on March 1 with severe pneumonia. He tested positive of the virus on March 5.
The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the elderly population were twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.
"As people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their body to fight off diseases and infection," the US national public health institute said.
"Many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness," CDC added.