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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 18, 2023  2 months, 2 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes ago

COVID-19 News-India: JN.1 Should Become Predominant In Circulation And Wreak Havoc In Kerala And The Southern States Just Before Makar Sakranti!

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COVID-19 News-India: JN.1 Should Become Predominant In Circulation And Wreak Havoc In Kerala And The Southern States Just Before Makar Sakranti!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 18, 2023  2 months, 2 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes ago
COVID-19 News-India: As the new variants and sub-lineages of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to infect millions across the world and in some cases lead to rise in hospitalizations while also contributing to rising excess mortality rates which many governments are trying to desperately conceal, India is on high alert as health experts warn of an imminent crisis, fueled by the emergence and spread of the JN.1 variant and its sub-lineages.

Speculations are rife that just before the auspicious Makar Sakranti festival on January 15, 2024, the JN.1 variant could become predominant, leading to a surge in hospitalizations and deaths. The situation is particularly alarming in the southern state of Kerala, where preparations for the annual pilgrimage to the Sabarimala Sri Dharma Sastha Temple that falls also on Makar Sakranti are underway, drawing hundreds of thousands of devotees.
The JN.1 variant, which has been previously detected in several countries, including the United States and China, has now raised concerns in India.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reassures the public that all approved COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against the JN.1 variant though emerging reports from doctors in various hospitals across the world are questioning the efficiency of these XBB.1.5 vaccines. However, the situation in Kerala is causing unease, with the state reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases after the detection of JN.1.
Kerala's Response and Regional Concerns
Kerala's health authorities have called for caution but have urged the public not to panic. According to COVID-19 News-India updates, the state currently has 1,144 active COVID-19 cases, with four reported deaths on a recent Saturday.
Officials claim to attribute these numbers to the state's high testing rate, emphasizing that the situation is under control. Kerala’s State Health Minister Veena George assures the public that there is no need to worry, despite the detection of the JN.1 sub-variant.
The JN.1 sub-variant was initially identified in a 79-year-old woman in Kerala, who had mild symptoms of influenza-like illness and has since recovered. The detection came as part of routine surveillance by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a network of laboratories monitoring COVID-19 in the country. Minister George revealed that the JN.1 variant had been previously detected in Indian passengers screened at the Singapore airport months ago.
Kerala's neighboring states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, are closely monitoring the rising cases in Kerala. The Indian federal health ministry has conducted mock drills in hospitals across several states to assess their preparedness for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases. While officials have not explicitly linked these drills to the JN.1 sub-variant, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) acknowledges the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in Kerala.
Nationwide Situatio n and Response
As of Monday, India's overall active COVID-19 cases stand at 1,828, with one death reported in Kerala. The national recovery rate is at an impressive 98.81%, with over 4.46 crore people having recovered from the infection. The case fatality rate is 1.19%, and the country has administered a staggering 220.67 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the reassuring national figures, the ICMR has noted the rise in COVID-19 cases in Kerala, linking it to an increase in the number of samples from influenza-like illness (ILI) cases referred for testing. This has prompted concerns about the potential for the JN.1 variant to spread further, given the large gatherings expected during the New Year holiday and the ongoing religious events in Kerala.
Karnataka's Preventive Measures
As the neighboring state to Kerala, Karnataka is taking proactive measures in response to the detection of the JN.1 sub-variant. The state government has mandated the wearing of face masks for individuals above 60 years of age with comorbidities and symptoms such as cough, phlegm, and fever. Karnataka’s Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao emphasized increased testing among those with symptoms and suspected cases, along with heightened surveillance in border districts.
Rao assures the public that the situation is under continuous monitoring, and there is currently no need for restrictions on movement and gatherings. The government is expected to issue an advisory based on the evolving situation.
In conclusion, as India faces the potential threat of the JN.1 variant spreading and causing a surge in COVID-19 cases, vigilance and precautionary measures are crucial. With the upcoming festivities and religious events, the authorities are on high alert to prevent the situation from escalating into a full-blown crisis. The collective efforts of health officials, government agencies, and the public are vital in mitigating the impact of the JN.1 variant and safeguarding public health during these challenging times.
For the latest COVID-19 News-India, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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