PESHAWAR: Warning that the children with undetected coronavirus can spread the infection among elderly people, researchers of the Khyber Medical University have recommended the testing and vaccination of minors and teenagers.
The Jan-March 2021 data involving children of 5-16 age bracket in Swabi, one of the high-risk districts, shows that the children can be the potential transmitters of the coronavirus to the elderly population and therefore, they should be accounted for in the strategy to deal with the Covid-19, said a study conducted by director of the Public Health Reference Lab Peshawar Dr Yasar Mehmood Yousafzai and MPhil fellow at KMU Dr Mohammad Arif.
The KMU has already done 90 per cent of the province’s Covid-19 tests besides carrying out other studies during the last one year in the local context of the virus to tackle it.
The children vaccination recommendation comes amid growing number of deaths by Covid-19 in the province.
18 more lose life to virus in province
The health department revealed in a report that the province lost 18 people to the virus and recorded 513 new cases on Monday.
It said 14 deaths were reported in Peshawar, two in Mardan and one each in Swat and Kohat.
The department said 502 patents had recovered from coronavirus during the last 24 hours, whole the active virus cases in the province totalled 8,401.
The KMU study said scientists had found that coronavirus could infect children.
According to it, the Covid-19’s pattern remains very mild and even asymptomatic in children and because of that, their PCR tests weren’t carried out. “None of the infected children were hospitalised,” it said.
The study claimed that nearly a quarter of children examined had Covid-19 antibodies in their blood implying an infection within the last few months.
According to it, earlier in the year, 246 Swabi children were enrolled for a research to check the presence of the virus.
“The history and blood samples were obtained from children and tested for Covid-19 IgM (recent infection within the last 4-15 days) and IgG (infection from the last two weeks to six months).
“The IgM positivity was 2.03 per cent and the IgG’s 23.07%. As a result, Covid-19 wasn’t detected due to which safety precautions weren’t performed to limit the spread of infection and children may play a significant role in the spread of coronavirus,” it said.
The study said children risked infection albeit at a lower rate compared with adults as they weren’t tested like adults, so they could spread virus to those vulnerable due to their chronic illnesses.
The researchers recommended coronavirus diagnosis and vaccination in children.
Meanwhile, the home and tribal affairs department ordered the closure of all commercial activities in Khyber, Bajaur, Shangla, Upper Dir, Haripur and Abbottabad districts by 8pm.
According to a notification issued here, the order was issued in light of the surging Covid-19 incidence.
It said DCs had been instructed to ensure only 50 per cent transport on the roads in the high-risk districts.
Another notification said all indoor and outdoor activities and gatherings would remain suspended, while violators of the restriction would face action under the law.
APP adds: The education department on Monday decided to close educational institutions in six more districts of the province over a surge in Covid-19 incidence.
Education minister Shahram Tarakai told reporters here that in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, all private and public educational institutions including cadet colleges, model schools, seminaries, academies and tuition centres would remain closed for in-person learning in Bajaur, Khyber, Shangla, Upper Dir, Abbottabad and Haripur districts until April 11, 2021.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2021