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HomeBharat NewsEmerging Concern: JN.1 Sub-Variant of COVID-19 Detected in Individuals in Maharashtra's Sindhudurg

Emerging Concern: JN.1 Sub-Variant of COVID-19 Detected in Individuals in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg

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In response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in some Indian states, Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya chaired a high-level meeting to assess the situation and bolster the country’s preparedness to tackle the evolving challenges posed by the pandemic. The meeting, attended by state health ministers and key officials, aimed to review the current COVID-19 landscape and discuss strategies for surveillance, containment, and management.

Key Participants and Collaborative Efforts:

The meeting saw the participation of Prof. S P Singh Baghel and Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare, and Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog. Additionally, state health ministers from Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Haryana, Kerala, Goa, Assam, Jharkhand, Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Manipur, Odisha, and Puducherry were present, among others.

Dr. Mandaviya’s Address:

Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya highlighted the global challenge presented by increasing COVID-19 cases in countries like China, Brazil, Germany, and the United States. Emphasizing the need for vigilance, he urged states to monitor emerging evidence of cases, symptoms, and severity, especially with the festive season approaching. Dr. Mandaviya stressed that despite progress, the battle against COVID-19 is ongoing, necessitating a collective “Whole of Government” approach.

Focus on Surveillance and Sequencing:

The Health Minister directed the strengthening of the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network. This initiative aims to track variants promptly and enable timely public health measures. States and Union Territories were urged to increase testing and submit COVID-19-positive samples to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories for sequencing.

Preparedness and Collaboration:

Dr. Mandaviya urged states to remain alert and ensure adequate stocks of essential medical supplies, including medicines, oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators, and vaccines. He called for regular mock drills at both central and state levels to assess the functionality of medical infrastructure and encouraged the sharing of best practices. The Health Minister also emphasized the importance of disseminating accurate information to manage the infodemic and avoid panic.

Surge in Cases and New Variant:

The meeting included a presentation by Secretary Sudhansh Pant, who briefed on the global and domestic COVID-19 scenario. While India’s active cases are relatively low compared to global figures, there has been a notable increase in the last two weeks. Daily positivity rates have risen in states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Karnataka.

The JN.1 variant of SARS-CoV-2 was discussed, with assurance that it is under scientific scrutiny but not an immediate cause for concern. No clustering of cases has been observed in India due to this variant.

Closing Remarks:

Dr. V K Paul stressed the need for a unified approach to address the surge and the emergence of new variants. Scientific scrutiny of the JN.1 variant is ongoing, and states were urged to intensify testing and surveillance.

State health ministers appreciated the support from the Centre and committed to increasing testing and surveillance measures.

As India navigates the challenges posed by the evolving COVID-19 situation, the collaborative efforts showcased in this meeting underscore the importance of a united front in the ongoing battle against the pandemic.

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