Coronavirus: Physical health ‘crucial’ to chances of coronavirus recovery, says WHO in new lockdown advice

Global health leaders have said the state of a person’s health before they become infected with COVID-19 appears to play a “crucial role” in determining their fate, while issuing fresh lockdown advice.

The European branch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said older people with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease were at a significantly increased risk of death from coronavirus.

And officials urged people to exercise, maintain a healthy diet and stop drinking and smoking.

They also said people should get up for at least three minutes every hour to avoid sitting time and use household chores to stay active.

Everyone should aim for a daily goal such as 30 minutes of activity, and online classes, strolls in the park and dancing to music could also help, the WHO said.

It said older people in general were at “significant risk of disease”, but that it posed less danger to those who had aged healthily – pointing out some people older than 100 had recovered from COVID-19.

And Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, also warned that young people were not “invincible” from the virus.

“Older adults are at significantly increased risk of severer disease following infection from COVID-19,” he said.

“We know that over 95% of deaths occurred in people older than 60 years old. We also know from reports that eight out of 10 deaths occur in individuals with at least one underlying co-morbidity, particularly those with cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes, but also a range of underlying chronic conditions.

“All older people should be treated with respect and dignity during these times. Remember we leave no one behind.”

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