Centre asks states to ramp up surveillance amid JN.1 variant scare

JN.1 variant scare

New Delhi: The Centre on Monday issued a letter to all the states and union territories, asking them to step up their surveillance and preventive measures given the rising COVID-19 cases in the country and the detection of the first case of the JN.1 variant in Kerala.

The letter, written by Union Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant, praised the joint efforts of the central and state governments in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases but cautioned that the pandemic was not over yet. He said that it was important to maintain the momentum and effectively deal with the public health challenges posed by the virus.

Pant also expressed concern over the slight increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in some states like Kerala, where the first case of the JN.1 subform of COVID-19 was reported on December 8. He said that the JN.1 variant was under investigation and its potential impact on the disease transmission and severity was not yet known.

He urged the states to take necessary public health measures and other arrangements to reduce the risk of the spread of the disease, especially given the upcoming festive season. He said that the states should ensure effective compliance with the detailed guidelines regarding the revised surveillance strategy for COVID-19 shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

JN.1 variant scare

He also asked the states to monitor and report district-based cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) on a regular basis in all health facilities for early detection of cases. He advised the states to ensure adequate testing as per the COVID-19 testing guidelines in all districts and maintain the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen testing.