Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has instructed all state departments concerned to hold paediatric camps across Karnataka amid worries over children being at a larger risk in the upcoming third wave of Covid-19.
At least 242 children have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last five days in Bengaluru, bringing back focus on the earlier prediction that the third wave could affect children.
The chief minister, who was visiting the district headquarters town of Dakshina Kannada district (bordering Kerala) which has seen significant rise in coronavirus cases in recent days, also told reporters that the government is planning to launch a new scheme for children.
“We have started the ‘Vatsalya’ scheme in Udupi and neighbouring areas, under which children will undergo all the (health) tests. It also includes setting up paediatric health centres. Once I reach Bengaluru, we will start it across the state," he said. Explaining, he said there will be ICU wards in paediatric centres in the district and 100-bed Taluk hospitals.
Accoridng to official data, of the total kids infected with coronavirus in Bengaluru, 106 are below the age of 9 years and 136 are between 9 and 19 years of age. The Bengaluru health department has warned that the number of infections in children may rise in the coming days.
Regarding resuming regular, offline classes for school students, the Chief Minister said, “We mulled over it a lot. For the students of 9, 10 and pre-university colleges we are thinking of resuming classes in a graded manner, like opening it on alternate days. Based on its outcome, we will decide our future course of action."
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar, who accompanied Bommai, told reporters that there are very few instances of those who were vaccinated getting infected again. “Even if they are getting infected by Covid-19, the intensity of infection is very less. There are extremely less chances of people going to the ICU," he added.
Bommai has asked officials in border districts to to be extra cautious to check Covid-19 spread. He also said that the government intends to set up ICU units at district and Taluk hospitals across the state.
“We are increasing the number of ventilators, ICU beds and oxygen beds. We started the programme to be ready to deal with any challenge. We need to be more prepared," Bommai said. Bommai also chaired a meeting with the officials on the Covid-19 situation and gave them a set of directions.
(With PTI inputs)