With Covid cases on an increase in the country, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that the infection is spreading like “wildfire” across the country, leaving many youngsters destitute.
The UNICEF said that India witnessed the highest number of Covid 19 cases in the last 24 hours. It was the highest for any country in the world on a single day, UNICEF Representative in India Yasmin Ali Haque said.
She noted that the Organisation was much concerned about the daily surge in new cases. She said that this second wave was almost four times the size of the first wave. The virus is spreading much faster, she added. On an average, there were more than four new cases every second and more than two deaths every minute in the last 24 hours, she added.
Ali Haque pointed out that the health facilities have collapsed by a surge of Covid 19 patients. The UN official said that there were reports that pregnant women struggled to find support. She mentioned that life-saving services to help women give birth are critical in India with the country seeing 27 million births and 30 million pregnancies every year.
Apart from India, the official said that South Asia was in the grip of the pandemic with cases increasing in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
LOW LEVELS OF VACCINATION
The UNICEF noted that South Asian countries only saw a lesser number of vaccinations. It said that less than 10 per cent of the people in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal were vaccinated. This added to the worry of the virus spiraling even further.
CHILDREN AND SECOND WAVE
Ali Haque pointed out that the second Covid 19 wave led to “dire consequences” for a greater number of children. The children are devoid of essential health, social, protection and education services, she added.
Apart from this, the Children also faced mental health issues. They are also at greater risk of violence, as lockdowns shut them off from their vital support networks.
The second surge is accompanied by a likely spike in illegal adoption pleas on internet platforms by families. The families are desperate to find homes for orphaned relatives, prompting fears of child exploitation.
“When we see that children are being orphaned and we do see that there is a lot of trafficking of children which is reported, children go missing, those systems are beginning to pick up on numbers”, she said.