Children do get COVID-19, contradictory to popular assumptions, although they usually show only mild symptoms, NITI Aayog member - health Dr VK Paul said on Saturday. The attempt on the part of the government now is to ensure that minors do not become part of the chain through which the disease spreads, he said.
The second wave of the pandemic, in which number of children affected have seen a rise, has alerted the country's health experts to stress on ways to handle children, with pre-existing co-morbidities, who have been infected with the deadly virus, ANI had reported earlier.
"The matter of children is more important...They do get Covid. But the symptoms are minimal. They are largely asymptomatic," Dr Paul told reporters on Saturday.
"However, the task is to make sure that they do not become part of the chain through which the disease spreads among people," he said.
In India, 26 per cent of the population is less than 14 years of age and nearly seven per cent are less than five-years-old.
Earlier, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights wrote to the Union Health Ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research alerting that a third COVID-19 wave may affect children in large number as suggested by health experts.
Dr Paul on Saturday also revealed that in the second wave of the pandemic in India, rural areas have been more affected than urban. He, however, reassured the country that the situation was stabilising.
"The pandemic is stabilising in a major part of the country. The positivity rate is going down and the number of active cases is going down," the NITI Aayog member said, repeating the message he gave out a week before.
Asked if a person can get inoculated with a vaccine different from the one received in the first dose, Dr Paul said it was not possible.
"But...this is an evolving situation. No robust scientific evidence, only time will tell," he said, adding a caveat.
India on Friday reported over 2.57 lakh fresh cases and almost 4,200 deaths related to Covid.