Reopening of ECCD and day-care centres to be determined by community cases

More than 60,000 children below five years are yet to be vaccinated

The earlier notification from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated that day-care centres and Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres cannot reopen until 10 days after schools, colleges, and facilities reopen.

On April 4, the classes for VII, VIII, IX, X and XII opened in the first phase, while the primary schools (Classes PP to VI) will start from April 18. However, children who are unvaccinated, and the day-care and ECCD centres, must wait for another 10 days to resume.

Further, all colleges and institutions opened from April 4.

A member of the Ministry of Health’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), Dr. Sithar Dorjee said, “After the cases in the community subside and based on the data, a decision will be made on whether to reopen the ECCD and day-care centres. Children are also not severely affected.”

He also said that the National Task Force has discussed, but not yet decided on reopening of the ECCD and day-care centres across the country.

According to the health expert, changes would be announced soon because with the completion of the second dose of vaccination for the children between 5-11 years on April 10, the National Task Force may discuss reopening the ECCD and day care centres. 

“We will give the necessary advice, but at the moment there is no notification from the National Taskforce,” Dr. Sithar Dorjee said.

There are reportedly about 9,400 children between 3-5 years from 495 ECCD centres, which include 51 private centres in the country.

Meanwhile, many parents are concerned about the safety of their children given that there are no vaccines and booster shots for younger children, and given the increasing number of positive cases in the communities,

There are reportedly more than 60,000 children below five years who are yet to be vaccinated. Further, more than 200 children below the age of five have been infected with the Covid-19.  

According to reports, the Omicron has proven to be the most contagious Covid-19 variant of the pandemic so far and the main difference with the Omicron is the sheer number of kids getting sick at the same time.

International experts say that children who are not yet vaccinated, their immune systems are not as well-equipped to deal with exposure to harmful germs such as that of the novel coronavirus.

Chencho Dema from Punakha