23 Dec 2023

Surge in JN.1 Variant Cases Sparks Global Concern; This is Latest Update on India's Situation

New Delhi: The global resurgence of the coronavirus is causing widespread alarm as the JN.1 variant continues to proliferate, affecting over 40 countries, including India. 


Presently, India has reported 22 cases of the new sub-variant JN.1, contributing to a record-breaking 752 new cases within the past 24 hours. This marks the highest single-day surge in COVID-19 infections in the country since May 21, 2023. 

Global Cases Surge by 52% in One Month

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the worldwide number of new COVID-19 cases has surged by 52% over the past four weeks, with over 8,50,000 new cases reported during this period. 

Four Patients Succumb

As of the latest update from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at 8 am on Saturday, four more deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

Recent data from the ministry indicates that in the last 24 hours, two patients have succumbed to COVID-19 in Kerala, while one patient each in Rajasthan and Karnataka lost their lives. The ministry also reports the administration of 220.67 crore vaccine doses under the anti-COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The emergence of the JN.1 sub-variant of SARS-CoV-2 has raised concerns within the country, prompting the Union government to instruct states to submit samples of all Covid-19 test swabs for comprehensive genome sequencing. This measure aims to enhance surveillance and early detection of any worrisome variations of the virus.

The states experiencing a surge in cases in India, notably Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Goa, Puducherry, Gujarat, Telangana, Punjab, and Delhi, have heightened their preparedness. As a precautionary step, they have implemented specific surveillance guidelines.


93% of individuals infected with JN.1 sub-variant exhibit mild symptoms

According to government data, nearly 93% of individuals infected with the JN.1 sub-variant exhibit mild symptoms and are self-isolating at home. Among those receiving treatment in various hospitals across the country, only 0.1% are on ventilator support, 1.2% are in the intensive care unit (ICU), and 0.6% are relying on oxygen support.

Despite being categorized as a Variant of Interest (VOI) by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is currently no evidence suggesting that JN.1 poses an increased risk to public health compared to other circulating variants. The UN health body has also affirmed that existing vaccines are effective in preventing severe disease and death based on the available evidence.

Initial Outbreak Traced to Kerala

The rapid spread of the new sub-variant is evident in multiple states across India, with the first reported case originating in Kerala. The patient, a woman, had recently returned from Singapore, highlighting the global interconnections of the virus.

Experts caution that although hospitalizations and intensive care needs remain proportionally lower than the infection rate, the continuous rise in cases over four consecutive weeks is cause for concern. The number of infections surged from 10,726 in the week of November 12-18 to 58,300 in the week of December 10-16.

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