An increase in COVID-19 cases has been observed in some states across the country following the detection of the first case of the Coronavirus sub-variant JN.1 in Kerala. The central government’s forum of labs, Insacog, identified 19 sequences of the BA.2.86 descendant JN.1 – one in Maharashtra and 18 in Goa.
India reported 614 new coronavirus infections, marking the highest since May 21, and the active cases have risen to 2,311, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data updated on Wednesday.
The death toll stands at 5,33,321, with three deaths reported from Kerala in the last 24 hours, as per the data updated at 8 am.
Kerala reported 292 fresh Covid infections and three deaths in 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry website.
On Wednesday, there were 341 new Covid infections reported nationwide, with a majority (292 cases) originating in Kerala. This brings the total number of active cases in the country to 2,311, according to information from the Ministry website. Additionally, three new deaths have been reported in Kerala, contributing to a total of 72,056 Covid-related fatalities in the state since the outbreak began three years ago.
The total tally of deaths related to Covid-19 infection stands at 5,33,321, while the number of discharged persons is at 44,470,346.
Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya held a high-level review meeting on Wednesday with representatives from all states/UTs regarding the preparedness of health services in light of the recent upsurge of Covid cases in various states.
Addressing the meeting, Mandaviya said, “It is time to work together with a ‘Whole of government’ approach… We need to be on the alert, but there is no need to panic. It’s important to be prepared with mock drills of hospital preparedness, increased surveillance, and effective communication with people. A mock drill should be done in all hospitals once every 3 months. I assure all support from the Centre to States. Health is not an area of politics.”
Earlier, the central government issued an advisory to all states amid rising Covid cases and the detection of the first JN.1 variant in India. State governments, including those of Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Rajasthan, also conducted review meetings and issued advisories amid the Covid scare.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the symptoms linked to the new Covid variant are generally mild to moderate in severity. These symptoms may encompass fever, a runny nose, sore throat, and headaches. The majority of individuals affected by this variant tend to exhibit mild upper respiratory symptoms, and these typically show improvement within a span of four to five days. In certain rare instances, individuals infected with the JN.1 variant may also encounter gastrointestinal issues, resulting in changes to digestive health, the WHO says.
WHO has designated the JN.1 variant of Covid as a “variant of interest.” However, the organization has emphasized that this particular strain does not pose a significant threat to public health. Despite the WHO’s reassurance, concerns have been raised among healthcare professionals, experts, authorities, and the general public in India regarding the JN.1 variant.