India has recorded 38,667 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, as per health ministry’s data. Drawing from the experience of the second wave of Covid infections, the health ministry braces itself for the third wave and has approved the release of over Rs 7,200 crore or 50% of the Centre’s share in the Rs 23,123 crore emergency response package announced in July.
Serum Institute of India chairman Cyrus Poonawalla on Friday said that taking a third or `booster dose’ of Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by his firm was desirable.
Poonawalla was not in favour of mixing two different vaccines and criticized the Union government for banning exports of vaccines.
Meanwhile, at least 543 children in the age-group of 0-18 have tested positive for Covid-19 in Bengaluru between August 1 and 11, leading to massive panic among parents and state authorities. The alarming number has brought back focus on the earlier prediction that the third wave could affect children and that the infection is spreading among them at a faster rate.
As per the latest BBMP bulletin, between August 1 and 11, about 88 children in the 0-9 year age group, and 305 children in the 10-19 year age group tested positive for Covid-19. Among the 499 new cases, 263 were reported in past five days and out of these, 88 are aged below 9 years. About 175 cases have been found in children aged between 10 and 19.
The development comes days after the Karnataka government announced that it may reopen schools for students studying in Classes 9-12 by August end.
On Wednesday, an officer from the health department had said the number will “triple” within a few days and “there is a great danger”.
“All we can do is protect our children from this virus by keeping them inside the home. Children will not have much immunity compared to elder ones. It is highly recommended to parents that they keep children inside home and follow all the Covid-19 norms,” the official said, according to reports.
The Karnataka government has already ordered night and weekend curfews in all the districts, and entries to Kerala-Karnataka, Maharashtra-Karnataka borders have been restricted. Only those who can show their RTPCR test of less than 72 hours are allowed to enter the state.
Karnataka has been recording around 1,500 daily new cases in the last one month, and the newly inducted chief minister Basavaraja Bommai has promised to increase the vaccine doses from around 65 lakh to 1 crore per month.
The Union Health Ministry officials have, however, often said that there is no evidence to suggest that children will be affected more in the next wave of the infection. Addressing concerns around impact of third coronavirus wave on children, Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, had said in June: “It may not be true that children will be disproportionately affected in the third wave as the serosurvey shows seropositivity was almost equal in all age groups. But the government is not leaving any stone unturned in terms of preparations.”