None of the children infected with Covid-19 require oxygen support or are in ICU: Kenneth Mak

At present, 89 children below the age of 12 are being cared for in the National University Hospital and the KK Women's and Children's Hospital (above). PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There are a total of 124 children infected with Covid-19 in the hospitals and community care facilities at present, though none of them have been in the intensive care unit or required oxygen support, said Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Friday (Aug 6).

At present, 89 children below the age of 12 are being cared for in the National University Hospital (NUH) and the KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), while another 35 are cared for in community care facilities, said Associate Professor Mak at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

Children under the age of 12 are currently not eligible for Covid-19 vaccines.

Since March last year, both hospitals have studied a total of 259 paediatric cases of infected children ranging from two months of age all the way to 18 years, said Prof Mak.

"NUH found that one in five of children had associated medical conditions, and many of them had exposure to infected cases in the same household," he added.

Prof Mak said that nearly half of these cases were symptomatic, though their symptoms were generally very mild - mild respiratory symptoms and fever.

None of the children experienced breathlessness, nor did they require oxygen supplementation, or ICU care, he noted.

None of the children had also experienced persistent Covid-19 related symptoms after recovering - otherwise known as the long Covid syndrome that was reported internationally.

Long Covid symptoms typically emerge or linger four weeks or more after an infection, and they include problems such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint aches and "brain fog" - where one's thinking is sluggish.

However, Prof Mak said that the number of children being infected has been small, and that there is a need to be mindful that internationally, there have been children who have not done as well and required ICU care or even died.

"We are fortunate that we have not seen this," he said, noting that in surrounding countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, there have been children who have died from Covid-19 infection.

In July, Indonesia recorded hundreds of deaths among children, with more than 150 children having died of Covid-19 in July 12 alone. Half the recent deaths involved those younger than five.

As at May, Malaysia has recorded the deaths of three children aged below five, with a total of 27 children, including 19 below the age of five, having been treated in the ICU.

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