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Alarming graph shows children below 15 years, infected by COVID-19.

As Thousands of Children Test COVID-19 positive, Government is Gearing Up to Fight COVID-19 in Children

While less number of COVID-19 positive cases due to less number of tests are reported in the third and fourth week of August 2021, the percentage of children who are tested COVID-19 is still high and alarming with the overall positivity rate continues to be above 10 percent.

The State Health Department came out with a figure of children below 15 years infected by COVID-19 only on August 16.

It may be mentioned that Imphal Review of Arts and Politics published a story, “Many Children Infected as Manipur’s Covid-19 Numbers Surge by the Day in Second Wave” on May 29, 2021,

Imphal Review earlier reported that according to calculations based on data available from official sources the total number of children (below 18 years of age) out of the 5,278 COVID-19 positive cases in the last week (from May 22 to 28) is found to be 909. It implies that the percentage of children found to be COVID-19 positive is 17.22% while the average positivity rate of the last week against the 25,840 reported tests is 20.43% with the highest of 23.93% on May 22.

While speaking at a press briefing held on August 16 at the Directorate Health Services Office Complex, Lamphelpat, Imphal the Health Services Director Dr. K Rajo said that there are a high number of COVID-19 positive cases among children below 15 years of age in Manipur and cases among them are increasing.

As many as 12,322 children below 15 years have been tested positive till August 15 during the second wave. During the first wave, a total of 2,661 children below 15 years tested positive, he added.

As per August 15 report, 121 children tested positive while the positivity rate stands at 20.09 per cent. Younger age groups have been highly affected.

While the number of COVID-19 positive cases is declining in many parts of India, positive cases are rising in other states of India like Karnataka and Kerala.

According to an analysis by Imphal Review based on available data from official sources, the total number of children below 15 years infected by COVID-19 is found to be 15,650 out cumulative number of positive cases of 1, 12,355 as on August 26, 2021. It implies that 13.93 per cent of the persons infected by COVID-19 since the pandemic landed in Manipur are children below 15 years.

Notably, the number children below 15 years infected by COVID-19 in the last 11 days from August 16 to 26 are found to be 667, which is as high as 16.33% of the total positive cases of 4085 during the 11 days.

Children below 15 years infected by COVID-19 are shown against daily positive cases.

Unfortunately, the rate of infection of children below 15 years is as high as 21.58% on August 26.

So far, six children below 15 years of age – two in the first wave of COVID-19 and four in the second wave are reported to have succumbed to COVID-19 in Manipur.

58 children below one year were infected with Covid-19 during the first wave and 148 children during the second wave as on August 26.

As many as 704 children below five years got infected during the first wave and 2,886 children during the second wave as on August 26.

A total of 2,659 children below 15 years got infected during the first wave and 12,970 children during the second wave as on August 26.

As many as 3,600 children below 18 years became infected during the first wave while 16,477 children during the second wave as on August 26.

In the alarming COVID-19 cases amongst children, preventive measures to protect children from COVID-19 have been started in the state. For children, different personal protective gears, masks and treatment processes are ready and they will be provided soon. The State Health Department has started giving different forms of training to some officials of the Health department for treatment of children in case a third wave comes to the state, Dr. K Rajo said.

Reports added that State Health Department has started to procure necessary medical items including ventilators, drugs, etc. to fight COVID-19 infection amongst children below 15 years.

As preparation to fight COVID-19 in children, a private hospital with 60 beds in Imphal West district has also been identified for treatment of children infected with COVID-19.

The Manipur Government is ready to dedicate 50 percent of the beds for children at the newly developed 200-bedded Covid Hospital at Kyamgei in Imphal East district.

Moreover, the State Government is identifying at least 10 beds each for children infected with COVID-19 in all the district hospitals of Manipur including the two medical institutions – Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal West district and Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal East district, the Health Services Director asserted.

Speaking to media on August 27, Dr Rajo said that as parents are in touch with different people during their daily activities, they are likely to become infected and further spread the virus to their kids. Therefore, getting vaccinated will prevent the virus from spreading further to their children, who will be the targeted victims of the third wave of the pandemic as per experts, the director Dr. Rajo stressed.

Moreover, as preventive measures, parents should also start training their children on Covid appropriate behaviours such as maintaining social distancing, proper wearing of face masks and others, Dr. Rajo added.

Highlighting on the preparations undertaken up by the state government to effectively combat the third wave, State Health Director further informed that the state government had constituted a ‘State Task Force for Covid Control’ by appointing the principal secretary of Health and Family Welfare as its chairman and including experts from state government, IMA, UNICEF and WHO.

Moreover, Director of JNIMS Dr. Laishram Deben told Imphal Review on August 27 that the JNMIS has prepared for treatment of children infected by COVID-19 even to the extent of third wave of the pandemic.

JNIMS has prepared 30 beds out of which 18 ICU including 12 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The number of beds is likely to increase to 40 soon with the help of the State Government under Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s initiative. We have competent manpower including trained health workers and a Task Force is formed. However, we are yet to receive the required equipments for the ICU from the State Government to increase the number of beds, told the Director to Imphal Review.

JNIMS has JNIMS has specially taken up under a Task Force for the Paediatric Centre of Excellency to exclusively treat the COVID-19 children since children below 18 years are vulnerable as they are yet immunized with COVID-19 vaccine and the virus mutate very fast, Dr. Laishram Deben told Imphal Review.

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