Hundreds of school children will be spending the school holiday break in isolation as the highly infectious Indian Delta strain of Covid-19 continues to infect younger and younger people.
From the early days of the pandemic last year right up until the new variant hit Australia’s shores, politicians and public health authorities reassured parents that coronavirus was far less likely to impact kids and was not a major risk.
But with a growing number of cases at half a dozen schools in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, it now appears children are much more susceptible to the virus than before.
Hundreds of school children will be spending the school holiday break in isolation as the highly infectious Indian Delta strain of Covid-19 continues to infect younger and younger people (stock image)
There are rising calls from teachers associations to have educators classed as front line workers so they can be vaccinated as soon as possible, as the mutant strain rips through much of the country, sending four states and territories into lockdown.
At the epicenter of Australia’s surging Indian Delta outbreak is Sydney’s eastern suburbs where the Bondi cluster has climbed to 149 cases on Tuesday, prompting public health alerts for thousands of venues nationwide.
Among them are a growing list of schools where infected children have unwittingly come to class.
Four students from South Coogee Public School have now returned positive tests, along with one student at Rose Bay Secondary College.
It comes after children at Bellevue Hill Public and Emanuel School also contracted the virus days earlier.
Meanwhile, a nine-year-old who attends St Charles Catholic Primary School caught the Indian Delta strain in a case which still remains a mystery to contact tracers.
Four students from South Coogee Public School (pictured) returned positive tests plunging every student and staff into isolation
Pictured: Parents wait to collect their children at St Charles Primary School on June 22 after a it was declared a Covid exposure site
But the damage has not been limited to Sydney with Connolly Primary School in Perth also declared a Covid exposure site on Monday.
The younger brother of an unvaccinated hospital worker who triggered Queensland’s three-day lockdown has also become infected.
There are now fears other students at St Patrick’s College at Shorncliffe, Brisbane, could be at risk after a long period of contact with the child.
Last year the federal and state governments reiterated the scientific consensus that Covid was much less likely to spread in schools with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying, ‘for children the health advice has been very clear, that schools are a safe place for children to be’.
St. Patrick’s College in Sydney (pictured) has been impacted by the pandemic with attendees testing positive earlier this year
‘From this point forward, teachers have to be regarded as front line workers,’ senior vice president of the Teachers Federation, Amber Flohm said
A positive case was announced at Rose Bay Secondary College (pictured) this week
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: ‘The health advice still stands and that is that schools are safe’.
Her Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said: ‘The adults are actually the ones who are actually spreading amongst themselves as opposed to children being a key driver.’
But as the alarming number of cases in schools grows there are now calls for teachers to be vaccinated.
‘From this point forward, teachers have to be regarded as front line workers,’ Senior vice president of the Teachers Federation, Amber Flohm told Nine’s A Current Affair.
‘With over a million coming through our school gates, each and every day in NSW, over 800,000 children, and a hundred thousand teachers and principals, teachers’ roles in vaccination help to ensure the safety of all on site.’
In the United States the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for emergency use in children from the age of 12, with about three million kids already receiving the jab.
A nine-year-old who attends St Charles Catholic Primary School (pictured) contracted the Indian Delta strain in a case which still remains a mystery to contact tracers
Pictured: Cars line up at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing lab at Bondi in Sydney, Australia, 28 June 2021
The same age limit was also introduced in Indonesia after it was devastated by the Indian Delta strain which claimed the lives of almost 700 children.
But in Australian there are no vaccines that have approval for use for kids under the age of 16.
The total number of children who have contracted Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic in Australia is a staggering 4,169.
That’s 14 per cent of all cases Down Under.
In Indonesia, where the virus has been in the community for longer, that number has increased to above 16 per cent and health authorities fear it will continue to grow.