AS the world celebrates 2020 World Children’s Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund has expressed concerned over the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Nigerian children.
In Nigeria, children and adolescents under the age of 20, account for 1 in 10 COVID-19 infections, or 11.3 per cent of total infections, according to the UN report.
This was contained in a statement to mark the World Children’s Day, made available to our correspondent.
The World Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20 across the world.
The international organisation said several children in Nigeria had suffered the effect of the dreaded decease.
“Since the pandemic started, there has been a false belief that children are not affected by COVID-19,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
He noted, “Nothing can be further from the truth, including in Nigeria. While children are less likely to have severe symptoms of illness, they can be infected – and the biggest impact by far is the disruptions to key services and increasing poverty rates, which are both having a huge impact on Nigerian children’s education, health, nutrition and well-being. The future of an entire generation is at risk – globally and in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the new UNICEF report finds that, as of November 3, in 87 countries with age-disaggregated data, children and adolescents under 20 years of age accounted for 1 in 9 of COVID-19 infections, or 11 per cent of the 25.7 million infections reported by these countries. In Nigeria, children in the same age group accounted for 1 in 10 infections, or 11.3 per cent of total infections.
While children can transmit the virus to each other and to older age groups, there is a strong evidence that, with basic safety measures in place, the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them, the report notes.
Schools are not the main drivers of community transmission, and children are more likely to get the virus outside of school settings.
COVID-related disruptions to critical health and social services for children pose the most serious threat to children, the report says.