More children are getting infected in the current spike in COVID-19 cases and related deaths.
According to Ministry of Health statistics, the number of children infected with COVID-19 has crossed the 10,000 mark; 5,008 in the 0-4 age group and 5,199 aged five to 14 years.
Considering the changing demographics, medical experts and parents are calling for immunisation of children to protect not just them but the whole population.
Addressing the pressing matter, Dr Zakaria bin Yahya al Balushi, infectious diseases consultant at The Royal Hospital, tweeted, “My tweets are mostly positive, but now we are at war with the coronavirus in every sense. What do we see in hospitals? Young people without any disease, but their health deteriorating rapidly. Cases in the wards are mostly serious; in the past, most were moderate and recovering quickly.”
Urging caution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, he said, “If you are infected or in contact with others infected, please do not contribute to spreading the virus by mingling with others. Remember, the virus is transmitted from one person to another. If we break the chain, the cases will decrease, so do not allow it to be transmitted by gathering and mixing. We can’t afford to lose even one more person to the virus.”
Citizen Hamad al Sulaimani learnt the heard way when his children, aged five and nine, were infected and pleaded with parents to adhere to the precautionary measures – to avoid family gatherings in particular – issued by the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling the impact of COVID-19. “They had symptoms like persistent cough and high temperature.”
According to Majlis A’Shura member Mohammed al Hinai, the responsibility of preventing transmission lies with both individuals and the government. “Children, youth and elderly – all are victims of the virus. Do we still need awareness on prevention? Each individual responsible for his family should avoid gatherings and non-emergency visits outside. The government should provide vaccines and vaccinate all as soon as possible.”
The current wave is 80 per cent more infectious than last year, informed Dr Saif Salim al Abri, director general of Disease Surveillance and Control in the Ministry of Health. “We have observed an increase in infections across all age groups, in the 30-50 age category in particular. But cases are also increasing in the under-12 age group.”
He noted that epidemiological investigations attribute this spike to family gatherings and non-adherence to precautionary measures.
On Thursday, H E Dr Ahmed Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health and member of the Supreme Committee, described the current COVID-19 daily case count and fatality as “very alarming; this wave is the worst so far”.
“The situation is quite exhausting for everyone, especially for the health sector, as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc. We don’t know when this will end.”
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