Wednesday, May 19, 2021 | Shawwal 6, 1442 H
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Kids less likely to get coronavirus


Muscat: No one is yet to have had immunity for novel coronavirus in the world, yet the new virus has been showing certain signs and one of them is to not have an impact on children and youth below 18 years of age.

Professor Eskild Petersen, (pictured) Specialist in Infectious Diseases, University of AARHUS, Denmark and Consultant at Oman’s Ministry of Health, explained further while speaking to Observer that what is currently being done in Oman is quarantine that is isolating people who might be infected from coming to contact with other people, which is standard public health procedure.

“This is a new virus and we have to learn how it behaves. Fourteen days is a security time which ensures that it is not infective after this period but in reality the incubation period is three to six days,” said Prof Petersen.

This is a new virus to man and probably just pass on to humans from animal species in December of 2019. “This is why we have no immunity yet. We get immune when we get exposed to a virus like in the case of influenza. So all of us have no immunity to this,” he pointed out.

According to him novel coronavirus seems to be different from SARS and MERS because it seems to be more infective.

“It seems to be much more infective jumping from one person to the other but it is much less dangerous. Of course if one is older and frail then the person has higher risk of complications, but when the person is younger the recovery process is easier.

When you look at the cases of infection it seems to be rare to see novel coronavirus infecting children and that is a good thing but we do not know why. It is good news. So far the studies also prove that novel coronavirus is not transferred from pregnant mother to the foetus. Of course there could be single cases but in general it has been rare for children below 18 to get the virus,” noted the professor.

In terms of prevention the professor said this virus does behave like influenza — spreading the virus right at the beginning and then progressively go low on being contagious.

“As we cannot look at our neighbours while being in the supermarket whether they are starting to get ill, or when we go to the cinema, the best thing is to avoid mass gatherings and take measures to protect ourselves. In Italy they have cancelled a few football games to avoid people sitting in close proximity,” he said. Could summer help in fighting the novel coronavirus?

He said, “Novel Coronavirus is currently thriving in places where there is winter as seen in China, Iran and Italy. We can hope that coming of summer can make a difference but again this is a new virus so we do not know. There are some data saying it could influence and then it will go down.” As there is no vaccine yet the best advice is not to travel to countries that are going through the impact of the virus.

“I would strongly advice not to travel to the countries and the other method is quarantine. And to prevent avoid mass gathering and practice good hygiene. May be in schools they can make children wash their hands during every break,” advised Prof Petersen.

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