Coronavirus: Matt Hancock ‘worried’ over new disease in children linked to COVID-19 | UK News

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The health secretary has expressed his concern after some children in the UK have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome which has been linked to COVID-19.

Matt Hancock said a lot of research is being done on the new disease and “it is something that we’re worried about”.

Medical experts are investigating a possible link between the coronavirus pandemic and clusters of severe inflammatory disease among infants who are arriving in hospitals with high fevers and swollen arteries.

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“There are some children who have died who didn’t have underlying health conditions,” Mr Hancock told LBC Radio.

“It’s a new disease that we think may be caused by coronavirus and the COVID-19 virus, we’re not 100% sure because some of the people who got it hadn’t tested positive, so we’re doing a lot of research now but it is something that we’re worried about.”

Mr Hancock added that while the disease is rare, it is “very significant” for children who do get it.

A member of the ambulance service wearing personal protective equipment is seen leading a patient (unseen) into an ambulance at St Thomas' Hospital in London on March 24, 2020. - Britain's leaders on Tuesday urged people to respect an unprecedented countrywide lockdown, saying that following advice to stay at home would stop people dying of coronavirus. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Northern Italy – one of the world’s hardest-hit areas during the pandemic – has reported high numbers of children under the age of nine with severe cases of what appears to be Kawasaki disease, which is more common in parts of Asia.

The condition mainly affects children under five and symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, skin rashes, fever and in severe cases, inflammation of arteries of the heart.

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, president of the Royal College of Nursing, said she had heard reports about the similarity between cases in infants and Kawasaki syndrome.

“Actually there’s far too little known about it and the numbers actually at the moment are really too small,” Prof Rafferty told Sky News.

“But it is an alert, and it’s something that’s actually being explored and examined by a number of different researchers.”

Junior British interior minister Victoria Atkins said parents should be vigilant.

She told Sky News: “It demonstrates just how fast moving this virus is and how unprecedented it is in its effect”.

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