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Business News/ News / India/  COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1: ‘Monitoring situation, we should be alert,’ says Kerala Health Minister Veena George
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COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1: ‘Monitoring situation, we should be alert,’ says Kerala Health Minister Veena George

Kerala Health Minister Veena George assures that the detection of the COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1 is not a cause for concern and that Kerala's health system is equipped to handle the situation.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George. (File: ANI)Premium
Kerala Health Minister Veena George. (File: ANI)

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Sunday said that the state government is monitoring the situation and appealed to stay vigilant about the sub-variant (COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1).

As reported by ANI, George said, “No need of any worry. That is a sub-variant (COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1). Now it is detected. Two or three months back it was detected in Indians when they were tested at Singapore airport. It is existing in other parts of India. Kerala has detected it."

JN.1 was first detected in September 2023 in the United States.

She noted that Kerala's health system is so good, and “we could detect it through genomic sequencing. No need to worry. We are keenly monitoring the situation. But we should be alert. People with comorbidities should be taken care of."

Meanwhile, as reported by ANI, the Union Ministry of Health has initiated preparedness measures after a case of the JN.1 subvariant of COVID has been identified in Kerala as part of the ongoing routine surveillance conducted by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), said a government release on Saturday.

Also Read: COVID subvariant JN.1 in Kerala raises concerns; expert says 'markedly different from prior versions...'

Dr Rajiv Bahl, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), confirmed this development during a press briefing in New Delhi.

A mock drill is underway in health facilities across states, evaluating public health and hospital readiness. This exercise, overseen by district collectors, commenced on December 13 and is scheduled for completion by December 18, 2023.

Also Read: China detects 7 infections of COVID subvariant JN.1; is this a variant of concern? Here are the details

Although most cases in Kerala are reported as clinically mild, health authorities stress the need for continuous vigilance and readiness to efficiently address the developing situation associated with COVID-19 variants.

The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a network of genomic laboratories, remains actively engaged in monitoring the genetic aspects of COVID-19 in India.

Meanwhile, China on December 15 detected seven infections of the COVID subvariant JN.1, reported news agency Reuters, quoting the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration.

Chinese authorities claimed that the prevalence level of JN.1 is currently 'very low' in that country. However, they refused to rule out the possibility of it becoming the dominant strain in China due to factors including imported cases, as per the report.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 17 Dec 2023, 10:48 AM IST
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