Doctor Ranj has claimed that children are more likely to catch coronavirus outside of school.
The television doctor discussed on Friday’s The One Show whether pupils should wear protective coverings in places where they can’t socially distance when they return to school.
The conversation came after Boris Johnson dropped Government advice against pupils wearing face masks in English schools as they go back to the classroom in September.
Face coverings will now be mandatory for children in secondary schools that are in England areas locally locked down. Elsewhere, headteachers will have discretion over whether their schools require them.
Speaking to Alex Jones and Ronan Keating about the controversial subject, Dr Ranj said that so far evidence has shown that coronavirus ‘isn’t a disease of children’.
‘We are very used to going back to school around this time, do you think there’s a sense that we’re going back too soon,’ quizzed Ronan.
To which Dr Ranj replied: ‘This has been a question a lot of people have debated throughout the pandemic.
‘One thing we have learnt over the course of this pandemic is that coronavirus isn’t a disease of children and young people.
‘It tends to be older people or people with long term health problems and children and young people are at the lowest risk of getting it, getting sick from it, ending up in intensive care or worse.’
‘You’re quite positive about that evidence now are they?’ Alex chipped in.
‘It’s evidence that we have got through experience, through what we have seen in this country and internationally as well,’ the TV doctor continued.
‘The other thing we have seen is, for some reason children don’t seem to be the ones passing it around either.
‘You’re much more likely to get coronavirus outside school and it’s between adults that are transmitting it to each other.’
He added: ‘There came a point where actually, lockdown was really important and initially we had to do that while we were learning to control the pandemic.
‘But there comes a point where the risks of lockdown for children and young people outweigh the risks of coronavirus itself.’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says children aged five years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.
WHO and Unicef advise that the decision to use masks for children aged six to 11 should be based on the following factors:
- Whether there is widespread transmission in the area where the child resides
- The ability of the child to safely and appropriately use a mask
- Access to masks, as well as laundering and replacement of masks in certain settings (such as schools and childcare services)
- Adequate adult supervision and instructions to the child on how to put on, take off and safely wear masks
- Potential impact of wearing a mask on learning and psychosocial development, in consultation with teachers, parents/caregivers and/or medical providers
- Specific settings and interactions the child has with other people who are at high risk of developing serious illness, such as the elderly and those with other underlying health conditions
The One Show airs weekdays at 7pm on BBC One.
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