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The pandemic of COVID-19 disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and the risks it poses to families, communities and nations have led to massive social and economic consequences. While less likely to cause severe illness in healthy children or adolescents than adults, children can transmit the virus, and those under 1 year of age and with underlying comorbidities are at increased risk for more severe illness.1
This paper provides recommendations from the International Pediatric Association for children’s health and healthcare during COVID-19 (box 1). The IPA highlights the health needs of children and outlines priorities for preserving newborn, child and adolescent health during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, where social distancing and lockdowns threaten access to routine care and preventive services. Our primary focus is on maintaining systems of primary care for children; however, much of this paper is also applicable to specialty and subspecialty care. We provide guidance for paediatricians and paediatric societies in managing children’s general health needs, routine preventive care and well-being during the current school and daycare closures, social distancing and quarantines. We recognise the need for specific strategies to reach those children and youth at greatest risk, including those in low-income and middle-income countries, as well as in fragile settings such as refugee camps. We address interim guidance on routine care and immunisation, preventing children from acquiring and transmitting infections, mitigating the consequences of social isolation and disruption of education, and ways paediatricians and children’s services may organise remote delivery of care.
This paper does not attempt to provide definitive guidance for clinical management of children infected with or exposed to COVID-19, nor a comprehensive review of the evidence emerging about the virus and its effects. The science is evolving rapidly; current lay and technical guidance is available from the WHO (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019), the …
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