NEW DELHI, 19 April – Save the Children is concerned about hundreds of thousands of children in India’s capital during the one-week lockdown beginning today, after the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
Children risk being affected by the lockdown: school closures are causing them to miss out on their education again, and living in isolation or their families being pushed out of work can have a deep impact on children as well. As lockdowns across India are needed to curb the spread of COVID-19, local and national officials must ensure children’s wellbeing are being prioritised.
As the country is seeing a spike in cases, officials in the capital region are imposing a new lockdown to prevent a collapse of the healthcare system that already faces a critical shortage of beds, ventilators and medical oxygen.
Sudarshan, CEO of Save the Children in India says:
“The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in India is extremely worrying. This pandemic has already had a severe impact on the well-being of children over the past year. This most recent wave is likely to be even more damaging for children’s mental health, and it increases the threat to their protection and education as children out of school can face an increased risk of abuse.
“Mental health is often among the most neglected aspects of a crisis like this one, and our teams on the ground are noticing an ever-increasing need for psychological support for children. The closure of schools and the economic fallout of the pandemic, as well as the impact it has had on their parent’s health and jobs, will have a long-lasting effect on the lives of children.
“Research found that calls to Childline – an Indian helpline for children in distress – have increased since the beginning of the pandemic, and are likely even higher now. Children can really struggle with the social isolation caused by schools being closed and not being able to see their friends.”