Covid-19 cases among children under 12 doubled

Raevathi Supramaniam

The Health Ministry says Covid-19 infections among children under 12 has double during the first four months of this year compared to the whole of year 2020. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 26, 2021.

THE number of children below the age of 12 infected with Covid-19 has doubled in the first four month of the year compared to that registered for the whole of last year, said Health Minister Adham Baba.

He said from January till April 2021, the ministry had recorded 23,739 Covid-19 positive cases while for the whole of last year there were 8,369 infections among this group.

Adham said the transmission among children has been high as it was easy for the virus to be transmitted in school where there is co-mingling.

“Any pupil with symptoms such as fever or loss of taste do not need to come to school. If parents are symptomatic or waiting for their Covid-19 results as a person under surveillance, they too should keep their children at home,” he said during a press conference today on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adham said that there have been reported cases of transmission coming from home whereby a family member is symptomatic but the children are not, so they are sent to school and inadvertently spread the virus to others.

He added that what is more worrying is that some of the index cases from schools have come from teachers.

“The teachers are worried that they will be marked absent if they don’t show up in school. But if they are symptomatic, they can ask for a letter from the district health office and they will not be marked as absent,” he said.

He added that a circular will soon be distributed to address the issue.

Adham said that targeted testing will also be done in schools to get ahead of Covid-19 cases there. 

As of April 24, the education sector contributed to 32.4% of positive cases reported, workplace (32.8%), community (29.4%), religious activities (4.4%) and detention centres (1.4%).  An 83.3% increase was also reported in education clusters, from 12 clusters to 20 in the past two weeks.

The R0, a measure of its transmission or the number of new infections generated by each case, stands at 1.12, in schools.

Malaysia rolled out its National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme on February 24 and phase 2 kicked off on April 19.

As of today, 1,305,161 doses have been administered. A total of 800,986 individuals have received their first dose of the vaccine, while 504,165 have received both doses.

The vaccine is only available to those aged 18 and above. – April 26, 2021.

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