COVID-19 Update: ‘Situation Under Control’, Says Minister After Kerala Logs 265 Fresh Cases

On Friday, Kerala recorded 265 fresh Covid-19 infections and one death while the total number of active coronavirus cases in the country stood at 2,997.

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COVID-19 Update: Kerala logged 265 fresh cases of Covid-19 and one death during the past 24 hours even as doctors have urged people not to panic due to the newly-discovered JN.1 variant which is not more lethal in nature than previous coronavirus variants, however, precautionary measures have been advised.

On Friday, Kerala recorded 265 fresh Covid-19 infections and one death while the total number of active coronavirus cases in the country stood at 2,997.

Earlier on Thursday, India recorded 594 fresh COVID-19 infections – taking the number of active cases from 2,311 the previous day to 2,669, according to Union Health Ministry data.

‘Do not panic’, top doctor on JN.1 variant

Meanwhile, amid rising concerns over the emergence of the new variant of the Coronavirus, former World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan asserted that there is no need to panic currently as it is a variant of interest and not of concern.

However, Swaminathan urged people to be cautious by taking proper precautionary measures.

“We need to be cautious, but we don’t need to worry because we don’t have any data to suggest that this variant JN.1 is more severe or it’s going to cause more pneumonia, more death,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former DG of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) told news agency ANI.

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“I think what we need to do is try to take the normal preventive measures that we are all now familiar with. We were familiar with Omicron, so it’s the same family. So not much has changed, but 1 or 2 new mutations have come up. And that’s why I think WHO has said let’s keep a watch on it. It’s a variant of interest. It’s not a variant of concern,” said the doctor.

She further advised precautions to avoid infection.

Proper precautions advised

“Avoid being in a very closed environment with very poor ventilation with toxic people without a mask. So do wear a mask if you’re in that type of very close setting because prolonged exposure to somebody infected increases the risk of infection”.

“Try to be in an open space rather than in most cases, have gatherings and now ventilated places today, entering into the season of gatherings,” said Swaminathan.

“If you have some warning symptoms and signs like severe fatigue, prolonged fever or you’re feeling breathless, visit the hospital,” she said.

‘Nothing to worry’

Meanwhile, speaking about the recent uptick in Covid cases in the state, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said the situation is under control but there’s nothing to worry about.

“There is nothing to worry about. We have found a slight increase in the number of COVID cases. A state-level meeting and a ministerial-level meeting were held and it was decided to start genomic sequencing back in November,” she said.

The minister also revealed that a 79-year-old woman was found positive for JN.1 variant in November but she has completely recovered now.

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” The number of tests in Kerala is high when compared to other states. The situation is totally under control. We have to expect more cases because the airport surveillance done in Singapore Airport shows that 19 passengers from India were found with JN.1.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified JN.1 as a variant of interest, distinct from its parent lineage BA.2.86. However, the global health body emphasised that the overall risk posed by JN.1 remains low based on current evidence.

(With ANI inputs)



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