NEW DELHI :
Children are being affected with covid-19 and they can be potential carriers of the disease, the government said on Tuesday.
“Children are affected and they are asymptomatic. Severe disease in children is uncommon but we have a protocol to handle this also. The response remains the same which is following covid-19 appropriate behaviour and children should be encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distancing,” said Dr V K Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, at a press conference. “We have a science-driven protocol already available. If covid-19 symptoms are seen in children then that should be followed,” said Paul.
He said that Bharat Biotech is conducting a clinical trial of covaxin in children that will begin in 10-12 days. ”Science’s attention is on it and children can have asymptomatic infection and they can also spread it. We have reasonable clarity on it,” Paul said.
The government said that the covid-19 pandemic in India is shrinking as the country’s reproduction value (R) for covid-19 is below one now. R value shows the rate of infection spread. However, the government also cautioned that 98% of the population continues to be vulnerable.
Paul said that comprehensive efforts at containment and testing are resulting in stabilisation. “We still have a few states which continue to be cause of concern. There is a mixed picture but overall there is stabilisation and what we know from scientific analysis is the reproduction number is below 1 now which means the pandemic is shrinking,” he said.
“This has happened because there is a huge containment effort in addition to managing the cases in home settings and hospitals. We are hoping and keeping the case fatality rate reasonably under control We have to be very mindful that when we are achieving declining positivity rate it is because of the results of what we are doing and that doing cannot be slackened,” said Paul.
According to the union health ministry data, around 1.8% of the total population in India has been affected by covid-19. ”Despite the high number of cases reported so far, we have been able to contain the spread to under 2% of the population due to continued efforts by the medical fraternity, states and districts,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union Health Ministry said.
Comparing the covid-19 statistics with the world, Agarwal said that 10.1% of the population in the US has been infected so far, 7.3% in Brazil, 9% in France and 7.4% in Italy.
“A continuous decline in active cases has been noted in the last 15 days. From being 17.13% on May 3, active cases now comprise 13.3% of the country’s total infections. A positive trend in the recovery has also been noted. The recovery rate which was 81.7% on May 3 has increased to 85.6% now,” Agarwal said.
”Since May 11, daily recoveries in the country have outnumbered daily cases. India has witnessed a consistent upward trend in weekly tests since mid-February with average daily tests more than 2.5 times in last 14 weeks. After a consistent increase in case positivity for 13 weeks, a decline in case positivity since the last week has been reported,” he said.
Eight states have more than 1 lakh active covid-19 cases, while 22 states have more than 15% case positivity, along with a decreasing trend in positivity rate observed in 26 states and UTs, the government data showed.
”In Delhi, the weekly positivity has reduced from 25% to 13.6%. In Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat and UP also the weekly positivity has reduced. An increasing trend in weekly positivity is being noted in northeast states mainly in Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Manipur. It is important to strengthen containment measures in these states,” said Agarwal adding that Maharashtra, UP, Delhi, Bihar, MP and Chhattisgarh are among eight states showing a decline in COVID-19 cases and decline in positivity.
Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram showing rise in covid-19 cases and rise in positivity, he said adding that 199 districts are showing a continued decline in cases and positivity since the last two weeks.
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