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India reports surge in Covid-19 cases and six deaths amid JN.1 variant concerns

New Delhi, 28 December, 2023 (GNP): India has witnessed a recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases, registering six fatalities and 702 new infections nationwide, according to reports from the Indian health ministry as of Thursday.

The country’s active caseload currently stands at 4,097, heightening worries surrounding the emergence of the new JN.1 Covid variant.

As per statements attributed to New Delhi’s Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj by India Today, concerns have intensified following the identification of the JN.1 variant, first reported in the capital city on Wednesday.

The reported deaths include two in Maharashtra and one each in Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, and New Delhi within the past 24 hours.

Designated as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization (WHO), JN.1 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant and has become the predominant strain in the United States, accounting for more than 44% of cases there.

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India is closely monitoring the resurgence of cases after the detection of the JN.1 variant across multiple states. The health ministry has confirmed a total of 109 cases as of December 26.

Gujarat and Karnataka reported the highest number of cases, with 36 and 34 respectively, followed by Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

Health experts caution that while the JN.1 variant exhibits high transmissibility, it tends to cause mild symptoms akin to a common cold, affecting the upper respiratory tract.