SCOTLAND’S health secretary said he regrets for causing “undue alarm” by saying there is a rise in hospital admission of children with Covid-19.
Humza Yousaf said on Wednesday (3) that ten children up to the age of nine had been admitted to hospital last week “because of Covid”. John Swinney, the deputy first minister and Covid recovery minister, also said that the number was “on the high side” in hospitals.
But a leading consultant paediatrician last night was quick to rubbish their suggestions and said there was no evidence of rise in numbers of children with Covid-19 needing medical care. Professor Steve Turner, Scotland officer for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, told parents not to worry.
Children’s wards are “not seeing a rise in cases with Covid,” he said and added many could have visited hospitals for other ailments.
Yousaf, 36, who became health secretary a fortnight ago, was regretful and tweeted: “My quoting of these figures was in response to a question about a parent wanting to take their child from a Level 2 area to soft play in a Level 1 area. My clear msg was plz don’t take any risks. It certainly wasn’t my intention to create any undue alarm.”
“For the health secretary to say that parents taking children to soft play areas in another area, which is completely within the restrictions in place, are risking the hospitalisation of children is alarmist and should not be left unexplained,” Claire Baker, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, said.
Children who contract the virus rarely develop serious illness, as vast majority experience mild symptoms.
“As it stands there are very few children in hospital in Scotland and across the whole of the UK due to Covid,” Turner said.
“We’re not seeing any evidence of an increase in paediatric admissions with Covid. A very small number of admissions who test positive for Covid is what we’d expect.”
Scotland recorded 835 coronavirus cases and four deaths on Thursday (3). So far 3,305,812 people have received their first dose of vaccine and 2,137,618 have had their second.