India has confirmed 21 cases of the newly identified JN.1 variant of the COVID-19 virus, according to VK Paul, a member of the government think tank NITI Aayog focused on health. The cases have been identified in various parts of the country, with Goa reporting 19 cases, and Maharashtra and Kerala each confirming one case.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya conducted a review of the COVID-19 situation and the preparedness of public health systems, emphasizing the importance of staying vigilant against new and emerging strains of the coronavirus. He stressed the need for smooth coordination between the central government and states to ensure the efficient management of COVID-19.
The Health Minister urged the implementation of mock drills at both the central and state levels once every three months to share best practices in handling the pandemic. Despite the decline in COVID-19 cases in some regions, Mandaviya emphasized that the threat is not over and called for continued monitoring of emerging evidence, symptoms, and case severity to plan an appropriate public health response.
During a presentation on the global and domestic COVID-19 situation, Health Ministry secretary Sudhansh Pant highlighted that while cases in India remain lower than global numbers, there has been a notable increase in active cases in the past two weeks—from 115 on December 6 to 614 on the current date.
Pant clarified that 92.8% of the active cases are in home isolation, indicating mild illness, and there has been no significant increase in hospitalization rates due to COVID-19. Cases that require hospitalization are primarily related to other medical conditions, with COVID-19 being an incidental finding.
The presentation noted a rise in the daily positivity rate in certain states, including Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Karnataka. The positivity rate is calculated as the number of confirmed cases per 100 tests conducted.
Regarding the JN.1 variant, Pant assured that it is currently under intense scientific scrutiny but is not an immediate cause for concern. No clustering of cases linked to the JN.1 variant has been observed in India, and all reported cases have exhibited mild symptoms, with patients recovering without complications. The government continues to monitor the situation closely and emphasizes the importance of public cooperation in adhering to preventive measures.
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