Amid India's relentless battle with a devastating wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of children testing positive for the novel coronavirus have emerged from Rajasthan. As many as 325 children have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Rajasthan's Dungarpur in the past few days. A similar situation has been witnessed in the Dausa district of the state. All children, to have tested positive for coronavirus, are under the age of 19 years. So far, more than 600 children have tested positive for COVID-19 from both the districts of Rajasthan.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the country's apex child rights body, on Thursday said with a third COVID-19 wave projected to hit the country, the Centre and states should ramp up their preparations to protect children and neonatals. In a letter to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting a slightly greater number of younger people and a third wave is projected to hit the country, will affect children too.
Underlining the urgent need to reorganise the National Emergency Transport Service (NETS), Kanoongo requested the health ministry to issue necessary directions for the service and ambulances to prepare specifically for neonatals and children.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government on Sunday extended the coronavirus lockdown by 15 days till June 8. The state may allow some relaxations in commercial activities from June 1 in districts where the COVID-19 situation will improve significantly, according to a government release.
The government has also increased the fine for not wearing a face mask at public places or workplaces from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that gathering at wedding ceremonies has been a major reason for the spread of the infection and in view of this, on the advice of experts and suggestions of public representatives, marriage functions will remain barred till June 30.
COVID-19 situation in Rajasthan
The COVID-19 death toll in Rajasthan rose to 7,703 on Sunday with 113 more fatalities, while 6,521 new cases pushed the infection count to 9,16,042, officials said. Jaipur and Udaipur recorded 27 and 11 deaths respectively while other districts reported deaths below 10.
Of the new cases, a maximum of 1,483 were reported from Jaipur, officials said. A total of 7,96,121 COVID-19 patients have recovered so far and the number of active cases currently is 1,12,218, they added.
In another related development, the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra has directed health authorities to be alert and appealed to people to consult doctors immediately if children show any symptoms. Addressing over 6,300 paediatricians virtually, CM Thackeray on Sunday said the immediate diagnosis was the need of the hour. A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) later said that paediatricians were advised on how to identify mild, medium and severe symptoms of coronavirus infection among children.