COVID-19 in children: Centre to release new guidelines soon, says NITI Aayog Member VK Paul

New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday (June 1) warned that COVID-19 can have an increased impact on children if the virus changes behavior, adding that the government is preparing for the same.

“A national expert group has been formed to review COVID-19 infections in children and approach the pandemic in a renewed way so as to strengthen the nation’s preparedness,” NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul was quoted as saying by PTI. 

Taking an “updated view” of the situation, he added that the group has examined signs which were not available 4-5 months before. While considering the available data, clinical profile, the country’s experience, disease dynamics, nature of the virus and the pandemic, the panel has formed guidelines, which he said will be publicly released soon.

“COVID-19 in children is often asymptomatic and rarely requires hospitalization. However, changes in epidemiological dynamics or viral behaviour can change the situation and increase the prevalence of infection. No undue burden has been placed on the paediatric care infrastructure so far. However, it is possible that 2-3 percent of children who get infected may need hospitalization,” Paul said at the press conference. 

Discussing the symptoms of COVID-19 in children, Paul said it likely occurs in two forms. In one case, symptoms including infection, cough, fever and pneumonia may occur, while some might require hospitalisation. 

“In the second case, after 2-6 weeks of getting COVID, which may mostly be asymptomatic, a small proportion of children may show symptoms like fever, body rash, and inflammation of eyes or conjunctivitis, breathing troubles, diarrhoea, vomiting and so on,” he informed. 

Further, Paul said, “It may not remain restricted like pneumonia affecting lungs. It spreads to various parts of the body. This is called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. This is a post-Covid symptom. At this time, the virus will not be found in the body and RT-PCR test will also come negative. But antibody test will show that the child had been infected by the disease.” 

To tackle the situation, guidelines are being formed which are likely to be released soon. 

(With PTI inputs)

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