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Children below 12 starting to form majority of COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals: Singapore

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Children below the age of 12 are starting to form the majority of COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals, said Singapore Ministry of Health’s (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak yesterday.

“The overall number of children below 12 years of age infected with COVID-19 is higher than the overall number of active COVID-19 cases above the age of 16 who have not yet fully recovered,” Associate Professor Mak said at a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.

“So to put things into perspective, our children in this age group in fact are starting to form the majority of cases that are admitted into hospitals for care.”

Both KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the National University Hospital are seeing more children with COVID-19 and non-coronavirus-related respiratory symptoms who need to be admitted, he added.

“Although Omicron is said to affect the upper airways more than the low airways in infected people, with the lower rates of pneumonia setting in, children are very sensitive to inflammation in the upper airways and this can cause wheezing and restlessness,” said Mak.

“So more children with Omicron infections are being admitted for treatment. But thankfully, they do not require long hospital stays or ICU care.”

The increase in admissions have filled up beds in paediatric wards dedicated to children infected with COVID-19, Mak said.

“The situation is compounded by the increase in numbers of children with non-COVID-19-related community respiratory infections who may also require hospital care,” he said.

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