Head of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Nombulelo Magula explains who is most as risk with COVID-19 & how to save them

Those suffering from co-morbidities and the elderly are most at risk for acquiring severe forms of COVID-19.

This is according to Professor Nombulelo Magula, head of medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“We have to rely on young people to make sure that they do not bring this infection to them (the elderly). This is not the time to be going out to party or to jog. Right now, it is time to work together to make sure that we protect each one of us,” she said.

“People living with HIV must continue taking their medication. Those with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other forms of lung disease must also continue taking their medication.”

Magula also explained the process of self-isolation.

“When someone who has a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever is tested for COVID-19 and the test comes back positive, and if they have a mild disease, they are asked to stay at home so that they isolate themselves and not come into contact with other people,” she said.

“Those that have been in contact with someone who has the disease are asked to stay isolated so that they don’t spread the disease because they might not know whether they have acquired the infection or not.

“They will be asked to stay under those conditions for at least 14 days and in that period, if they develop symptoms, they will get tested to see if they have the infection.”

Magula advised that it is important for South Africans to wash their hands with soap or sanitiser.

“It is very easy to touch a surface where the virus could have fallen because someone who is infected with the disease coughed droplets onto those surfaces. So, when you touch those surfaces with your hands and then you touch your mouth, nose and eyes you can then infect yourself.

“It is important for everybody who coughs to cough into their flexed elbow, or cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away.”

Magula said the virus knows no race or gender.

“It knows no age no gender, no class, no geographic location. Even people who live in townships and rural areas are at risk of contracting this infection. Whilst the majority of people will clear this infection, some will develop severe disease and complications and even die from this disease.”