As part of preparations for the third wave, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that 50% of the beds in the Intensive Care Units across the state hospitals will be converted into paediatric ICU beds. He made the announcement during a visit to Mangaluru to review the COVID-19 situation, on Thursday, August 12.
There are concerns that children could be affected as part of the third wave of COVID-19 amid the emergence of new variants, especially since those below 18 years of age have not been vaccinated so far. India is only administering vaccines to those above 18 years of age, while a few countries have started vaccinating children. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech is currently conducting Covaxin trials for children, Dr Randeep Guleria, the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, had said in July. The results of the trial are likely to be released in September.
When asked about the preparation for the third wave of COVID-19, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai said that the state government is already taking precautionary measures. "At all hospitals in zilla panchayats, 100 plus bed hospitals in taluka panchayats and government hospitals in Bengaluru, it has been decided to convert 50% of ICU beds into paediatric ICU beds," he said.
The state government is also implementing the "Vatsalya" programme aimed to ensure the well-being of children during the time of COVID-19.
"The announcement will be made when I return to Bengaluru (Friday). The projects have been implemented successfully in Haveri and Udupi districts," Bommai stated.
The project will ensure that children will have more immunity towards COVID-19. Children comprise the non-vaccinated group and steps will be taken to increase the number of ICU beds, ventilator beds and oxygen beds, he added.
‚ÄúThe COVID-19 infection spread from neighbouring states of Kerala and Maharashtra last time and necessary steps have been taken to ensure that this is not repeated,‚ÄĚ he alleged. "Health checkups will be conducted on all children of bordering villages," he stated.