‘I’m very worried’ - fears of coronavirus-related illness in children

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has spoken of his fears of a new type of illness a

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has spoken of his fears of a new type of illness affecting children. Picture: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has said he is “very worried” by reports of a new illness in children thought to be caused by coronavirus.

An urgent alert sent to doctors said there had been a rise in severely unwell children with unusual flu-like symptoms, although Mr Hancock has stressed it is rare.

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NHS England has said there is “growing concern” over the illness, with the organisation’s medical director Stephen Powis adding: “We have asked our experts to look into this as a matter of urgency.”

Speaking during a radio interview on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said he was “very worried” about the new reports.

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“It’s a fresh, new disease that we think may be caused by coronavirus and the Covid-19 virus,” he said.

“We’re not 100% sure because some of the people who got it hadn’t tested positive.

“We’re doing a lot of research now but it is something we’re worried about.

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“What I would also stress is that it is rare.

“Although it is very significant for those children who do get it, the number of cases is small.”

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He added: “We put out at the weekend a call across the NHS because some cases of this had been identified and then this call essentially says to doctors in other parts of the country ‘have you seen this condition?’ and then they collate the information and find out what’s going on.”

He said: “We have lost some children,” adding: “There are some children who have died who didn’t have underlying health conditions.”

It comes after the UK Paediatric Intensive Care Society (Pics) tweeted an alert it said was from NHS England which says in the “last three weeks, there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK”.

NHS England confirmed it had shared the warning through its incident teams to clinical commissioning groups and hospital trusts.

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