Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Women's Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA) Ministry has said that around 620,784 children, accounting for 13.3 percent of the total confirmed cases, have been exposed to COVID-19 as of February 11, 2022.

In a press release issued here on Monday, PPPA Minister Bintang Puspayoga appealed to the public to tighten health protocols to protect children as one of the vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic.

Children are very vulnerable since they can be easily infected by exposed family members, the surrounding community, and public places, she noted.

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Moreover, children still have limited knowledge and adherence to health protocols, she said.

Meanwhile, according to the data from the ministry’s Rapid-PRO PPA app, as of February 11, 2022, 35,722 children have been orphaned by COVID-19, an increase of 130 since January 23, 2022.

Temporary or permanent separation from their parents due to the pandemic will greatly affect the future of the children, the minister noted.

Hence, the ministry is ensuring that children who lose one or both parents are assisted by the local PPPA Office and Social Office, including in terms of necessity assessment, long-term care planning, monitoring and evaluation of their new environmental conditions, as well as service referrals, if necessary, Puspayoga said.

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In addition, she emphasized the importance of caring, nurturing, as well as fulfilling the basic and specific needs of children who are victims of the pandemic, according to their age level.

The PPPA Ministry has developed the Rapid-PRO PPA app to provide data on orphaned children.

Data collection for the app is being carried out in collaboration with all PPPA Offices, Health Offices, and the COVID-19 Task Force, Puspayoga said.

The attempt is also supported by the community, including Family Welfare Development (PKK), Community-Based Integrated Child Protection (PATBM), Assistance for Women and Children (SAPA), and Children's Forum, she added.

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Translator: Anita Dewi, Uyu Liman
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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