120 new children under 11 years were detected Covid-19 positive in just six days
Covid-19 hospitalization rates among children are at an all-time high with an average of 17 children under the age of 11 being admitted to hospital each day during this week.
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), this is up from roughly the average of eight children being admitted the week before.
In just this week, the MoH has recorded 120 new cases of children under 11 being detected Covid-19 positive.
Earlier on February 4, Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo divulged that 269 children had been infected with the virus.
However, just six days later, there has been a substantial surge in cases, bringing the total to 389 children being detected Covid-19 positive as of February 10.
According to the MoH, this represents a 44.6% increase and the highest increase in the isolation ward for this age group since the onset of the pandemic. In comparison to the previous wave in the country, the third lockdown has seen a higher proportion of children affected.
MoH’s focal person said all patients, including children, are managed as per the isolation protocol where asymptomatic and mild cases are managed at the isolation facilities and moderate and severe patients are managed at hospital based isolation.
According to the official, not a single child as of February 10 is managed as severe COVID. Symptoms in children are mild, such as fever, cough and diarrhea. They are isolated with their parents.
“The National Clinical Team for Covid-19 together with the Regional Clinical Team for Covid-19 consisting of pediatricians closely monitor all these cases,” the official said.
When questioned about the procedure in situations when an infant is Covid-19 positive despite the mother testing negative, the official said there have been a few cases, but eventually the mothers also test positive.
“We have always let mother/guardians be with the child in the isolation ward/facilities. Separating them would do more harm to the baby than Covid would do,” the official added.
According to the National Immunization Technical Advisory group (NITAG), as children under 11 in the country are not vaccinated yet, they are more susceptible to the Omicron variant.
In a recent panel discussion on the BBS TV, the Health Minister also said that it was worrying with the upsurge in Omicron cases in the country and around 129,000 children below the age of 11 years in the country having not received the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 infections are also reported to be rising among children aged 5-11 years in Thailand.
The Thai government, according to the Bangkok Post, is speeding up the vaccination process for this group.
The spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration in Thailand told the Bangkok Post yesterday that the infection rate for children in this age range was 1.4% from January to November 2020, 1.0% from December 2020 to March 2021, 6.2% from April to December 2021 and 6.6% from Jan 1 to Feb 2 this year. In Thailand, vaccination started on Jan 31, 2021 for children aged 5-11 who had chronic underlying conditions and vaccination began in schools on February 7.
Tshering Pelden from Thimphu