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Coronavirus Outbreak

Surge In COVID Cases Prompts Increased Testing And Genome Sequencing

The Delhi health department has ordered authorities to send an “adequate” number of COVID samples for genome sequencing amid an uptick in COVID cases

Surge In COVID Cases Prompts Increased Testing And Genome Sequencing
COVID cases are showing an upward trend in multiple states, reaching 3742 active patients on December 24

New Delhi: Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj said on Monday (December 25) that there are four Corona patients in hospitals in Delhi and asked for a genome sequencing report to know whether the new cases are of new variants or not after the COVID cases registered a rise in the country towards the end of 2023 with sub-variant JN.1. Mr Bhardwaj said,

On average, 400-500 samples are being tested every day in Delhi, and on average, 5-7 positive cases are coming; that is, the positivity is about one percent. As of today, a total of four Corona patients are in hospitals in Delhi. There is no situation of panic.

Moreover, the Delhi health department ordered authorities to send an “adequate” number of COVID samples for RT-PCR tests amid an uptick in coronavirus cases. Mr Bhardwaj said,

The new cases that are coming, we have sent them for genome sequencing. After his report, it will be known whether this variant is new or old. However, the new variant is also not serious, so if there is a new variant, then there is no need to worry too much.

Also Read: New COVID Variant JN.1 On The Rise In India: How Worried Should You Be?

According to the discussion that took place with the Central Government four days ago, the new variant is being seen in the states of South India, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc. This is a sub-variant of Omicron. Although it is mild, its cases are not very serious. Mr Bhardwaj in an advice to the general public said,

If someone is suffering from a chronic illness or has low immunity, they should not go to crowded areas. We have also issued the same guidelines as per the Centre’s guidelines. Do not do anything that might otherwise spread panic.

When asked about any restrictions being issued regarding crowd management during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Mr Bhardwaj said,

I feel that, according to the Centre, this is not a very serious variant. Therefore, it is useless to issue such guidelines that are not implemented. When people know that this disease is not very serious, no matter how many strict rules are made, there will be harassment in the name of enforcement, people will face problems, and it will not have much effect.

As COVID cases show an upward trend in multiple states, reaching 3742 active patients on Sunday (December 24), concerns mount with the highest reported cases in Kerala, where a new variant, JN.1, has emerged.

Also Read: Number Of New Covid Cases Increased 52 Per Cent Globally In Past One Month: WHO

In the ongoing battle against the evolving coronavirus, Dr Sameer Bhati, a public health expert and director of Star Imaging and Path Lab, sheds light on its changing dynamics.

Despite a relatively lower number of tests in Delhi, cases are closely monitored and genome sequencing is done to identify any emerging variants.

Dr Bhati explains that while the RTPCR test is employed for COVID detection, genome sequencing is done to identify new variants.

Samples from infected individuals are sent for testing, revealing the specific variant as the virus undergoes frequent transformations. Notably, symptoms remain consistent with cough, cold, fever, and sore throat, the public health expert described.

He said that presently, COVID testing encompasses three methods: home testing with kits, rapid antigen tests providing quick results, and RTPCR tests for comprehensive analysis.

Dr Bhati noted that most individuals are opting for home testing or seeking hospital tests upon displaying symptoms. Positive cases are subsequently directed for genome sequencing to unveil any potential new variants.

Besides COVID, Dr Bhati mentions an uptick in testing for seasonal flu, although its prevalence is relatively low in the capital. The surge in COVID cases is particularly notable in states with higher travel rates, such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.

Also Read: COVID-19 Updates: India Recorded Over 600 COVID Cases; States Gear Up To Contain The Spread

Dr Bhati anticipates the possibility of a surge in COVID cases in Delhi and NCR in the coming days.

In response to a potential increase in cases, Dr Bhati underscores the importance of providing information about positive cases to ICMR, triggering genome sequencing in select instances.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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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