The government plans to perform a fourth nationwide sero survey to track the spread of coronavirus, and prepare for a potential third wave of cases.
The survey, which will be led by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), will take place in June and will involve the analysis of 28,000 blood samples, 14,000 from adults and 14,000 from children over the age of six. It will not just focus on children, but also on rural sections of the country, NDTV has reported.
Even as India grapples with the second wave of Covid-19 that left health systems across the country crumbling, experts are already calling for preparations for the third wave, which they predict will hit the country later this year. They have warned children would be affected by the third wave.
New Guidelines to be Released: Dr VK Paul
NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul in a Health Ministry briefing on Tuesday said that although children get mild Covid, the government was preparing for hospitalisation if even 2-3% children needed it.
He said that if the Covid-19 virus changed its nature, the impact of the disease on children may increase. “Two to three per cent children may need hospitalisation. We are keeping a vigil, an expert group has been formed, new guidelines will be released,” he said.
Last month, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria stated that there is no evidence that children will be significantly or more severely harmed, a finding backed by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. However, on Monday, the Supreme Court asked the government if any research had been conducted into these concerns.
9,900 Minors Positive in Maha’s Ahmednagar Last Month
Over 9,900 minors tested positive for coronavirus at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra last month, but the district administration claimed that around 95 per cent of them were asymptomatic and the situation was not alarming.
In May this year, atotal of 86,182 COVID-19 cases were reported in Ahmednagar, district Collector Rajendra Bhosale told PTI. “Out of them, 9,928 were minors (aged below 18), which comes to about 11.5 per cent of the total cases reported last month,” Bhosale said.
He said out of the 9,928 minors who contracted the viral infection, 6,700 were in the age group of 11 to 18, 3,100 were in 1 to 10 years age bracket, while some were also below the age of 1 year.
“Since around 95 per cent of them were asymptomatic, there is nothing to worry. However, considering the threat of a possible third wave of COVID-19, it has now become paramount to take utmost care of children,” the collector said.