The Centre on Monday issued an advisory to states urging them to monitor and report any influenza-like illness amid rising cases of Covid in the country, including the detection of one case of subvariant JN.1.
“As the Covid-19 virus continues to circulate and its epidemiology behaviour gets settled in Indian weather conditions and circulation of other usual pathogens, it is of utmost importance that we maintain a state of constant vigil over the Covid situation, right up to the district levels,” said the Ministry of Health.
India’s Covid-19 situation remains under control, with an active caseload of 1,828 as of today. However, one death was reported in Kerala, where the JN.1 subvariant of the coronavirus was recently detected.
Dr NK Arora, the chief of INSACOG, a network of genomic laboratories that tracks genomic variants of the virus, said that the death was not caused by the subvariant alone but by multiple underlying health conditions.
Dr Arora emphasised that “INSACOG is closely monitoring the situation, studying the epidemiology and clinical behaviour of the virus.”
The Centre, citing the upcoming festive season, said there is need to “put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize risk of increase in transmission of the diseases by adherence to maintenance of respiratory hygiene”.
The states have been asked to monitor and report district-wise influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness cases in all health facilities on a regular basis.
In the wake of the surge in respiratory diseases and the new JN.1 Covid sub-variant, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the virus is evolving and changing and urged the member states to continue with strong surveillance and sequence sharing.
“Ensure a higher number of of RT-PCR tests and send the positive samples for genome sequencing to Indian SARS COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratories so as to enable timely detection of new variants, if any, in the country,’ the Centre told states.
The Centre also urged the states to promote community awareness.