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'Smokers in Indonesia are at high risk for COVID-19': WHO

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, March 14, 2020  /  11:08 am
'Smokers in Indonesia are at high risk for COVID-19': WHO

Data from the 2018 Basic Health Survey (Riskesdas) revealed that about 63 percent of adult men in Indonesia were smokers. (Shutterstock/File)

A recent statement from the World Health Organization revealed that smokers in Indonesia are at high risk of “severe or critical” infection with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The high risk applies for any type of smoking.  

“Smokers are at high risk for heart disease and respiratory disease, which are high risk factors for developing severe or critical disease with COVID-19,” said Dr. Paranie, representative of WHO Indonesia. “Therefore, smokers in Indonesia are at high risk for COVID-19.”

2018 data from the Basic Health Survey (Riskesdas) shows that Indonesia has one of the world’s highest rates of smoking. About 63 percent of adult men in the country are smokers.

As of Friday, 69 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Indonesia with four patients having died of the illness. The first patient, identified as Case 25, died on Wednesday after undergoing treatment for three days, and the second patient died in Surakarta, Central Java, on Friday. Both Case 25 and the patient in Surakarta had suffered from other illnesses in addition to COVID-19; one of them was diabetes.

Read also: Indonesia to test more people for COVID-19

Quitting smoking is said to be one way to reduce the risk of severe cases of the virus. The WHO also suggested the practice of personal hygiene, such as consistently washing one’s hands in a proper way, keeping social distance, covering one’s nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and seeking professional help when experiencing fever or having difficulty breathing.

Symptoms of COVID-19 usually include fever, fatigue and a cough. Sometimes the symptoms can include pain, a runny nose, nasal congestion and a sore throat. In serious cases, the virus can also cause shortness of breath, which affects one in every five patients.  

The WHO noted that about 80 percent of patients would likely recover without undergoing special treatment. The virus is not common in children and young adults.

Despite the aforementioned facts, COVID-19 should be taken seriously. People above 60 years old and with preexisting illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease or hypertension, are at high risk of developing serious complications if they catch the illness. (wir/wng)

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