The government on Tuesday cautioned that even though the coronavirus infection has not taken a serious shape among children till now, its impact can increase among them if there is a change in virus behaviour or epidemiology dynamics, and said preparations are on to deal with any such situation.
“We reassure you that the needs of the paediatric population will be arranged and no gaps will be left,” NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said, adding “we will do an audit of what is required and would be required in the worst-case scenario and be put into action.”
No undue burden has been placed on pediatric care infrastructure so far. However, it is possible that 2% – 3% of children who get infected may need hospitalization, he told the media in the national capital during a briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Informing that Covid-19 in children may take two forms, Dr Paul said in one form, symptoms like infection, cough, fever and pneumonia may occur, followed in some cases by hospitalization.
Talking about the second case, he said a small proportion of children may – after two six weeks of getting Covid which may mostly be asymptomatic – show symptoms like fever, body rash and inflammation of eyes or conjunctivitis, breathing troubles, diarrhoea, vomiting and so on.
It may not remain restricted like pneumonia affecting lungs. It spreads to various parts of the body. This is called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. This is a post- Covid symptom. At this time, virus will not be found in the body and RT-PCR test will also come negative. But antibody test will show that the child had been infected by Covid, he added
Stating that a National Expert Group has been formed to review the Covid-19 infections in children and approach the pandemic in a renewed way to strengthen the nations preparedness, Dr Paul said the Group has examined signs, which were not available four to five months before.
It has also considered available data, clinical profile, the country’s experience, disease dynamics, nature of the virus and the pandemic and has come up with guidelines, which will be publicly released soon, he added.
The NITI Aayog Member (Health) further said: While we have been systematically reviewing scientific developments in this area, the Group has been formed to take an updated view of the situation.
India has been seeing a decline in covid-19 cases since May 7, said Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health. “The country has recorded less than 2 lakh daily cases since May 28. Almost 69% decline in cases since the highest reported peak recorded on May 7,” Aggarwal said, adding that the daily positivity rate dropped to 6.62 per cent today, the lowest since April 1.
21.60 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country: 1.67 crore doses to health workers, 2.42 crore to frontline workers, 15.48 crore to people in 45 and above age group and 2.03 crore doses for those in 18-44 age group. “Recovered cases are more than daily cases now, with recoveries increasing to 92% now; 20 lakh tests on an average in one week,” said Aggarwal.