Over 5,000 children up to the age of 14 years in Meghalaya have been infected by Covid since the pandemic began and 17 of them have succumbed to the infection.
Out of these 17 children, 13 died in the last month after the state saw a spike in Covid cases.
Sharing the numbers, state Health Minister Alexander Laloo Hek told mediapersons today that the government has now decided to set up paediatric hospitals at three locations -- Shillong, Tura in West Garo Hills and Jowai in West Jaintia Hills district.
These hospitals, the minister said, will be set up in prefabricated buildings -- buildings put together by assembling factory-made components.
Data on the website of the state health department's Covid dashboard shows 5,101 confirmed cases in the 0-14 years age group. Out of these 4,344 children have recovered so far.
A majority of these cases were reported over the past one month. As many as 2,950 children tested positive for Covid since May 15; out of them, 2,821 have recovered so far.
The number of confirmed cases among children accounts for 11.66 per cent of the total 43,732 cases reported by the state so far.
Responding to a question on whether three hospitals for children are adequate in view of apprehensions that a possible third wave of Covid infections may severely affect this age group, the minister replied, "Covid will attack everybody, not just children. We have to be careful."
While a section of experts and studies have stated that there is no indication yet that children will be more severely affected in the event of the third wave, several states have started preparing for the next spike in cases with a focus on them.
Meghalaya reported 478 new Covid cases and four deaths over the past 24 hours.