The detection of novel COVID-19 subvariants JN.1 and BA.286 or Pirola has raised new concerns globally. There have been a rise in new Covid variant cases in India. The spike in cases of the new JN.1 variant has been reported globally since its initial detection in Luxembourg in August 2023, following which authorities have heightened vigilance. The heightened vigilance can lead authorities to impose restrictions; therefore, business organizations are required to monitor the developments regarding the JN.1 variant , new covid variant cases in India, and remain prepared for contingencies.

New Covid Variant Cases in India: Emergence of JN.1 variant - datasurfr - MitKat Advisory
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The JN.1 variant differs from Pirola or BA.286 variant by a single mutation in its spike protein. The variant is highly transmittable with mild symptoms like the previous Omicron variant. The new variant is capable of immune evasion and infecting those who have suffered from COVID-19 or are vaccinated.

People with comorbidities and senior citizens are more vulnerable to the infection. However, there is no evidence suggesting that the variant is more severe or has a higher fatality rate compared to other variants. The symptoms of the variant are similar to the symptoms of earlier variants and include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

New covid variant cases in India of the JN.1 variant have also been reported in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and Nepal. The WHO has classified the JN.1 variant as a variant of interest after a spike in the number of cases globally.

New Covid Variant Cases in India: Where it began

The first case of JN.1 variant in India was in reported Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, on 08 December 2023. After the detection of the JN.1 variant and the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Union government advised all States and Union Territories to ensure vigilance, strict health measures, adequate testing, genome sequencing, and regular district-wise monitoring of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).

As of 22 January 2024, new covid variant cases in India of the JN.1 variant rose to 1,513. The highest number of cases were reported in Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Gujarat. Mask mandate and limitations on public gatherings were enforced in Panoor, Kerala, following a COVID-related death. Karnataka mandated face masks for senior citizens and those with underlying conditions.

The Health Department of Karnataka has also made testing for all symptomatic close contact of COVID-19 patients mandatory and enforced a seven-day home isolation for infected individuals. On 17 January, the Health Department of Karnataka issued a circular to ensure all individuals above 60 years with ILI are tested for COVID-19. Telangana and Leh have mandated the wearing of face masks in public. So far, no COVID-19-related travel restrictions have been issued.

JN.1 variant has emerged as a dominant variant of COVID-19 across the country. Due to the high transmissibility of the variant, the number of new covid variant cases in India continue to increase. The likelihood of mutation and emergence of new variants increases as the number of infections increases. Individuals need to take precautionary measures like wearing masks and vaccination.

Although a total lockdown similar to the initial stages of COVID-19 is unlikely, organizations must take into consideration the regulations regarding COVID-19 by authorities and ensure the health of their employees. Organizations can follow the following recommendations given the increasing COVID-19 cases:

  • Maintain high vigilance and take suitable precautionary measures like low/no contact mechanisms.
  • Permit employees showing symptoms or suffering from influenza-like illnesses to work from home.
  • Although authorities have not issued any directive against physical work in offices, it is advisable to consider a hybrid mode of work or staggered shifts to avoid crowding.
  • Install sanitizer dispensers and dustbins at strategic locations.
  • Organizations are also advised to prepare complete support plans for executives undertaking business travel.

datasurfr’s real-time alerts help organizations track reported cases of the JN.1 variant as well as other disease outbreaks. We will monitor new covid variant cases in India and keep you updated.

The platform gives organizations the ability to analyse the trends due to an outbreak at different locations of interest. Our experienced team of analysts continued to track developments regarding COVID-19 and created regular updates and reports that help organizations understand the risks and take action to mitigate them.

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