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COVID-19 Updates: 162 Cases Of Sub-variant JN.1 Detected In India; Highest From Kerala, Gujarat: INSACOG

Five new fatalities due to Covid have been reported the past 24 hours: two from Kerala and one each from Maharashtra, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu

COVID-19 Updates: India Records 797 New Cases, Highest In 225 Days
Several states have been reporting an uptick in the number of Covid cases over the last few weeks. Here's a look at the cases reported from several states

New Delhi: A total of 162 cases of COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 have been detected in the country, with Kerala reporting the highest number of 83, followed by Gujarat 34, according to the INSACOG’s data updated on Friday (December 29). The INSACOG’s data showed 145 Covid cases recorded in the country in December had the presence of JN.1, while 17 such cases were detected in November.

India has logged 797 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday (December 29), the highest since May. The country had recorded 865 new cases on May 19. The number of active cases of the infections have been recorded at 4,091, the health ministry said. Five new fatalities due to Covid have been reported the past 24 hours: two from Kerala and one each from Maharashtra, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, according to the ministry’s data updated at 8 am.

Several states have been reporting an uptick in the number of Covid cases over the last few weeks and nine states and Union territories have so far detected the presence of the JN.1 sub-variant of the virus. These states are — Kerala (83), Gujarat (34), Goa (18), Karnataka (eight), Maharashtra (seven), Rajasthan (five), Tamil Nadu (four), Telangana (two) and Delhi (one), according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). Here’s a look at the cases reported from several states.

Karnataka

Karnataka on Friday (December 29) reported 173 fresh cases of Covid-19 and two coronavirus related deaths in the last 24 hours. This takes the total number of active cases in the state to 702, the health bulletin said. With this, the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the state after the recent spike in cases is more than 10, they said.

According to the bulletin issued by the health department, in the last 24 hours, 37 patients have been discharged, total 8,349 tests have been conducted including – 6,400 RTPCR and 1,949 Rapid Antigen tests. Positivity rate stands at 2.07 per cent while case fatality rate was 1.15 per cent.

Maximum number of tests were conducted in Bengaluru. Out of the 2,616 tests conducted, 82 have been found positive for the virus, which is the highest as compared to other districts of the state.

As on Friday (December 29), the total active cases reported in the state stands at 702. Out of these, 649 people are in home isolation while the remaining 53 are hospitalised, it added.

Amid a spike in cases and detection of JN.1 infections in the state, the Karnataka government’s cabinet sub-committee on coronavirus advised people to wear masks, not send children with symptoms to schools, adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour like social distancing, seven days home isolation and leave for infected patients.

It has also decided to administer “precautionary vaccine” for the aged and those with comorbidities and to get 30,000 doses of Corbevax vaccine from the Centre for this purpose.

Kerala

The highest number of JN.1 variant cases have been reported from Kerala. The state reported 41 cases of the JN.1 subvariant, the majority of which were home isolated, official sources said. Official sources told ANI,

A total of 145 cases of JN.1 variant have been reported till December 28. These samples were collected between November 21 and December 18, 2023.

Delhi

As Delhi gears up to ring in the New Year amid fear of the new Covid sub-variant JN.1, experts advised people with comorbidities and the elderly to avoid crowded places and wear masks while asserting there was no need to put in place public health measures right now. According to the Union Health Ministry data, there are 45 active Covid cases in Delhi. So far, the national capital has reported one case of the JN.1 variant. Amid the rise in cases, experts advised people not to panic and stressed that viral respiratory illnesses usually see a spike during winter months and the pollution season. Dr Sumit Ray, medical director and critical care head at Holy Family Hospital, said,

We are seeing more influenza cases and H1N1 patients where there is serious lung involvement. The Covid cases that we have seen at our hospital are those where the finding of the infection has been incidental.Those who were admitted with Covid infection were primarily those who had chronic lung or kidney disease.

The hospital has had 11 Covid patients in December but no fatalities have been reported at the facility.

Dr Jugal Kishore, Director, Professor and Head of the Department of Community Medicine, Safdarjung Hospital, said that JN.1 is a sub-variant of Omicron.

In comorbid people, any infection is an igniting factor for existing problems. Those people who have comorbidities should wear masks when they step out of the house. But for healthy people, I would not advise it. Forceful respiration if you do not have any underlying health issues can lead to severe problems. Those who have respiratory infection should wear masks to avoid spreading it.

LNJP Hospital’s Medical Director Dr Suresh Kumar also said there was no reason to panic. He said,

This (JN.1) is a sub-variant of Omicron. The symptoms are mild and rarely do people get a severe infection. However, those who have diabetes, a liver-related disease or are on dialysis should get themselves tested if they show symptoms. If you are immunocompromised, you should wear a mask while visiting crowded places or hospitals. Opt for a balanced diet, including fruits.

The national capital reported two new cases of coronavirus on Thursday (December 28) and reports of both the infected patients were sent for genome sequencing to confirm whether they were instances of sub-variant, JN.1.

Dr Sanjeev Lalwani, Medical Superintendent of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told ANI that adequate arrangements have been made in case any kind of emergency arises. Dr Lalwani said,

Yesterday, we had two Covid-19 patients. We have made adequate arrangements in case of an emergency. We have all testing facilities. Under my department of Microbiology, we have started a screening facility and emergency simultaneously and we have arranged for 12 beds in a new private ward.

Dr Lalwani said,

As the number of positive cases is increasing, we will scale up the facilities including the number of beds. We have asked all the departments, particularly the clinical departments, that in case someone with Covid-related symptoms is coming to their wards, they will be treated in isolation within the same ward itself.

He said,

We have also made adequate arrangements for medications, PPE Kits and other items which are required to manage the COVID patients. We are keeping a watch on the situation daily. As of now, we have a very limited number of cases. We will be strengthening our system as soon as more cases are reported. But as of now, the situation is not alarming. We will instruct our employees to follow the guidelines properly.

Also Read: COVID-19 Updates:157 Cases Of Sub-variant JN.1 Detected In India; Highest From Kerala, Gujarat: INSACOG

Amid the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the JN.1 sub-variant in various states, after AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, has also reserved beds for patients and made other arrangements including oxygen and testing.

The hospital administration has reserved 50 beds for isolations, and 9 ICU beds. Apart from this, complete arrangements have also been made in the hospital regarding oxygen, PPE kits, and COVID testing.

Senior pulmonologist and former Safdarjung Hospital HOD, Dr Neeraj Gupta, said,

JN.1 is a variant of Omicron. It is a very mild virus. The only advantage this virus has because of this mutation is that it crosses our immune barriers and is able to infect us with a normal infection. Like any viral infection, this is also mild; it is not of a very severe nature, and we are not expecting any admissions or higher admission rates.

He further said that normally, patients with comorbidities or any severe condition that decreases the immune system are going to have more morbidity, which may lead to mortality. Dr Gupta said,

We had one patient of Covid, which was rapid antigen positive when the patient got admitted, and now the patient is negative, so we don’t really know whether it’s genuine or not, but we are testing all the patients who are suspected of Covid-like symptoms, and still now we have not detected any.

He said they have not detected any positive case till now, but are ready with all the kits, and have all the arrangements for treatment of any COVID patients, including isolation beds. He added,

We have about 50 beds for isolation and 9 ICU beds, which are ready for all the deployments. There are also adequate PPE kits or medicines available, including oxygen. And if any eventuality comes in, we are ready for it but I do not really anticipate any such rush because, in time, Omicron also did not get so many admissions.

He further said,

I will want people to beware. Take all the precautions, including avoiding any exposure to excessive cold. Try to remain healthy and exercise when the Sun comes out. Take a nutritious diet and exercise all Covid-appropriate behaviour, like wearing masks in public, and this will also prevent them from many pollution-related issues.

Also Read: COVID-19 Updates: States Report Rise In Cases; Delhi Reports First Case Of JN.1

Meanwhile, Delhi’s Health Minister, Saurabh Bharadwaj, visited Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital on Thursday (December 28) to assess the preparedness for COVID-19. The hospital has reserved 20 beds for COVID-19 patients, but there hasn’t been a confirmed case in the hospital yet. Separate help desks have been set up for COVID-19 patients, along with a dedicated testing centre in the hospital. Immediate treatment will be given upon confirmation of Covid. Directives have been issued to maintain readiness in all Delhi government hospitals. The Delhi Health Minister is continuously monitoring the situation. Mr Saurabh Bharadwaj said,

Currently, the entire ward is empty as there have not been any confirmed case of a COVID patient in the hospital yet. However, continuous screening of patients with COVID-related symptoms is ongoing. As soon as any COVID-related patient is confirmed, they will be immediately admitted, and treatment will commence. Almost all preparations in the hospital have been completed, and further preparations will be made as per the evolving situation.

The Health Minister, during his briefing, mentioned that directives have been issued to all hospitals under the Delhi government to maintain all preparations for dealing with COVID-19. He added,

Although there isn’t any situation causing panic in Delhi presently, it doesn’t mean that hospital administrations should be lax. All hospitals must remain prepared to deal with COVID.

Jammu & Kashmir 

Jammu has recorded its first COVID-19 case in a “long time” and the patient, who has mild symptoms, has been kept in home isolation, a senior doctor in Jammu and Kashmir said on Thursday (December 28). However, he asserted that there is no need to panic as measures are in place to meet any challenge.

Government Medical College Hospital (Jammu) Principal Ashutosh Gupta said this was the first case detected in the city after a “long time” and the patient’s sample has been sent for genome sequencing to determine if it was caused by the new JN.1 sub-variant. He said the patient has no history of travel but came in contact with someone who had returned from abroad a few days ago. Dr Gupta said,

He is being kept in home isolation and is doing fine. There is no need to panic as adequate measures are already in place to meet any challenge.

Officials said the Health Department has already begun a drive to trace the patient’s contacts.

West Bengal

West Bengal on Thursday (December 28) registered the death of a COVID-positive patient after over nine months, a health official said. The patient, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, had multiple comorbidities, he said. The official told PTI,

This person was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata. He died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The state had recorded the last COVID death on March 26.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu’s DMDK Party’s ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth Loses Battle With COVID-19

As per directions of the Union Health Ministry, representatives of the state health department collected the swab samples of the person and sent those for genome sequencing, he said.

The total number of active cases in the state stood at 11, while three people were discharged from hospitals after they recovered from the disease.

Odisha

Five persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Odisha in the past 24 hours taking the total number of cases in the state reported this month so far to 13, a health department official said on Friday (December 29). About 500 samples were tested out of which five were found to be positive since Thursday (December 28). All the patients have reported mild symptoms and are in home isolation, state public heath director Niranjan Mishra said, adding

We have not imposed any restrictions on the people. However, the people, especially the elderly and those having comorbidities should be cautious and take precautionary measures like wearing masks and use sanitisers while stepping out of their homes.

Mr Mishra also advised the people who have cold and cough to isolate themselves at their homes and wear masks.

Manipur

Manipur reported a fresh case of COVID-19 after a prolonged period without new infections. The infected individual, who hails from Paomata in Senapati district, had travelled from Delhi to Dimapur by air and subsequently from Dimapur to Senapati by road. The exact virus variant remains undetermined, as samples have been sent for genome sequencing to ascertain more details.

Authorities are closely monitoring the situation to prevent any potential spread of the virus.

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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