Mumbai: The state has recorded nine new cases of JN.1 variant on Sunday, taking the number of cases to 10.
The first case of JN.1 variant was reported in Sindhudurg on December 20. As per data, five cases are from Thane, followed by two under the Pune Municipal Corporation and one each from Pune (Rural), Akola and Sindhudurg.
According to state health officials, one of the patients is a nine-year-old, two are between 20 and 30 years and the rest are 40 years and above. Eight of them have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
“The patient from Pune (Rural ) had a travel history to the United States. All of these patients were in home isolation as they had mild symptoms. They have now recovered,” a senior official said.
The JN.1 (BA.184.108.40.206) variant emerged in August in Luxembourg and is a descendant of the BA.2.86 lineage (Pirola) of SARS-COV2.
50 new Covid-19 cases
Meanwhile, the state has recorded 50 new Covid-19 cases, of which 25 are from Mumbai. Considering the rise of cases, the Union government has directed the states to send samples of all Covid-19 test swabs for whole genome sequencing in an attempt to step up vigil for any concerning variant.
Experts believe there is no need for panic despite the growing number of positive cases. Former AIIMS, Delhi, director Randeep Guleria said the sub-variant JN.1 is “gradually becoming dominant” but observed that it is not causing severe infections or hospitalisations.
WHO classifies JN.1 into Variant of Interest category
The World Health Organization (WHO) also classified JN.1 into the Variant of Interest (VOI) category. However, it said there is no evidence that the Covid sub-variant presents an increased risk to public health relative to other currently circulating variants. The UN health body also said that the evidence at hand suggests current vaccines are capable of preventing severe disease and death.
Maharashtra Minister Sanjay Bansode directed health officials to ensure government hospitals have ventilators, oxygen cylinders and essential equipment.
“The administration should ensure that necessary equipment and medicines are available at tehsil health centres. The condition of oxygen plants should also be checked,” Bansode said.
He said that the construction of primary health centres and other health institutions should be completed soon, and necessary steps must be taken to make them functional.
Considering the emergence of the new variant, testing kits have been made available to check symptomatic patients, district health officer, Dr Vadgave said.
Fifty beds are reserved for new cases in Vilasrao Deshmukh Government Medical College, and a mock drill was conducted to inspect ventilators and oxygen facilities, a health official said.