With the growing incidence of coronavirus infections among children, Maharashtra will soon set up a Covid Paediatric Task Force to tackle the onslaught of the probable “third wave” expected to hit soon, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here on Thursday.

Briefing media persons, Tope said that while the state is in the grip of the second wave, there is a forecast of a third wave also and the government is gearing up to prevent it as much as possible.

“A Covid Task Force of Paediatricians will be formed immediately to treat the Covid-19 infections, especially among children, create the paediatric treatment protocols, etc,” Tope said.

This would include creating more hospitals beds, both general and NICU, ventilators for kids or augmenting the existing facilities in the health centres.

Presently, in the second wave, the number of children getting infected has shown an alarming increase with over 10,000 currently undergoing treatment in hospitals.

Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had directed all District Collectors and health officers to gear up for the third wave which could hit children in a big way.

Simultaneously, Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray and Mumbai Guardian Minister interacted with Mayor Kishori Pednekar and other top officials of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on the issue.

The BMC plans to set up fully-equipped Paediatric Covid Care Wards, Paediatric ICUs, and Neonatal ICUs in at least three locations, numbering over 700 beds, for the children who may be hit.

The state has till date recorded 149,224 infections of children in the 1-10 age group and 338,397 in the 11-20 age, totally accounting for 9.97 of the state’s total caseload, with a majority – barring those above 18 – are not yet cleared for vaccination by the Centre.

–IANS

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