New cases among children on rise: Expert

New cases among children on rise: Expert

New cases among children on rise: Expert

New COVID-19 cases among children between the ages of five and 17 have been increasing after a period of stability during the summer, according to a prominent health professional.

Zafer Kurugöl, a pediatrician from Ege University in the western province of İzmir, stated that the number of cases among children is gradually increasing and the infection rate is seen more intensely compared to those over the age of 60.

“The need for intensive care among children is increasing, and most of them do not have a chronic disease,” Kurugöl said.

Noting that there are many cases of pediatric intensive care units hospitalized with complaints of high fever and respiratory distress, Kurugöl stated that the frequency of the disease among children between the ages of 5 and 17 is at the same level as adults.

The pediatrician also said the rapidly spreading delta variant cases also pose a threat for children apart from risks that the reopening of schools will bring.

“The delta variant is detected in more than 90 percent of pediatric patients as in adults,” Kurugöl said, adding that infection by the delta variant causes more severe symptoms.

Reminding that Turkey already expanded its vaccination campaign to include children at least 12 years old who have a chronic disease, the pediatrician stated that there is an increase in cases not only among children over the age of 16 but also among those over the age of 12.

The expert said that children over the age of 12 in the country should be vaccinated immediately.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Interior Ministry has sent a circular to the governor’s offices of all 81 provinces in the country, laying out measures to be followed during the upcoming academic year.

According to the circular, unvaccinated teachers and staff, including school bus drivers and food handlers, will be required to take PCR tests twice in a week as schools are preparing to reopen for in-class education on Sept. 6.

The government has also issued a set of guidelines for safe in-person education to prevent infections which include hygiene rules, mandatory masks at all times for students and teachers and proper ventilation in classrooms.

Turkey has administered more than 94 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since launching a mass immunization campaign in January, according to official figures.