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Kids less likely to spread Covid so schools should stay open, says respiratory disease expert

Closing schools to curb Covid-19 does more damage than good, because it deprives children of education, an expert in respiratory diseases said on Friday.

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a specialist at Bangkok's Vichaiyut Hospital, said adults were far more likely to spread Covid-19 than children. Writing on Facebook, he added that children rarely show symptoms after infection, while their death rate from Covid-19 is lower than from other common respiratory diseases.

“Closing schools helps stop the virus spreading from children to their families, but it is not worth it when children's opportunity to study is halted," he said.

Children were at risk of Covid-19 infection in school, especially young children, who find it hard to follow control measures, said Dr Manoon. He added that many children study in poorly ventilated classrooms, which increases the chance of the disease spreading. But he applauded the move to reopen public schools nationwide – except in Samut Sakhon – from Monday.

"We must recognise that we will have to live with Covid-19 for a long time, so I agree with the government's move to reopen schools soon," he said.

He added that teachers should be vaccinated to prevent them from spreading the virus to children in the classroom.

Currently, Thailand’s Covid-19 inoculation programme does not cover children, since more research is needed on the vaccines’ efficacy and safety in kids.

Published : January 29, 2021

By : The Nation