Andhra Pradesh to set up three COVID care centres for children as part of preparedness for third wave

Published : June 08, 2021 21:46 IST

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to establish three paediatric care centres in the State at a cost of Rs.540 crore in preparation for the third wave of COVID-19 infection in which, according to medical opinion, children could be more susceptible. The health centres will be established at Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Tirupati.

Announcing the decision on June 7 after a review meeting, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said that all teaching hospitals in the State would necessarily be equipped with a dedicated paediatric ward, which will be fully equipped to handle any crisis relating to COVID-19.

The Chief Minister also declared that paediatric wards would be established wherever possible in Primary Health Centres and other health centres. He asked health officials to raise awareness among parents about a possible third wave and its effects on children. The government has already initiated steps to educate and train ASHA and health workers to test paediatric symptoms. He added that private children’s hospitals should be alerted about a possible third wave and all hospitals providing treatment to children should be identified so that they can be empanelled.

As part of the State’s preparedness, the Chief Minister asked health department officials to work as if a third wave had already kicked in. Jagan Mohan Reddy stressed that all necessary medicines and oxygen should be procured in advance and frontline medical staff, including specialist doctors, should be recruited in adequate numbers.

Although Andhra Pradesh is seeing a steady decline in COVID-19 cases, the government has decided to adopt a cautious approach and extend the partial lockdown until June 20. The extension, though, comes with relaxations in timings. From June 10, the four-hour relaxation period (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) will be doubled to eight hours (6 a.m. to 2 p.m). The State has been under a partial lockdown since May 5.

According to the bulletin from the Andhra Pradesh COVID-19 cell on June 7, the State’s active COVID-19 cases stood at 1,07,588, with 7,796 being infected in the last 24-hours. The State has been testing around 85,000 samples on an average every day. The death toll in the State stands at 11,629.

Among the districts, East Godavari reported the highest number of fresh cases, 1,302¸ followed by Chittoor (1,210), Anantapur (918) and West Godavari (755). The remaining nine districts reported less than 700 new cases each, with Kurnool contributing the lowest number of 147 fresh cases. Visakhapatnam saw 672 new cases, Guntur 518, Prakasam 499, YSR Kadapa 410, Krishna 379, Srikakulam 376, Nellore 311, and Vizianagaram 299. Chittoor district, with a total COVID-19 case count of 2,02,539, has the highest death toll of 1,401 among all districts.

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