Mask Rule Back As New COVID JN.1 Found in India

Kerala recording 339 new COVID-19 infections with the maximum single day rise on 16th December 2023 has concerned the health authorities of India.

COVID-19’s new subvariant JN.1 cases are on the rise in Kerala and have concerned the health authorities of India. Indian Medical Association Covid Task Force's co-chairman, Mr. Rajeev Jayadevan said, “The JN.1 variant is capable of spreading faster and evading immunity. It is markedly different from all the other prior versions of this virus. This enables it to infect people who had previous Covid infections and also people who were vaccinated. COVID’s JN.1 variant is being considered to be the Omicron subvariant BA.2.86 or Pirola. The new variant has been spreading in many countries and is believed to be the reason behind the recent increase in hospitalization in several countries. The JN.1 variant was first detected in Luxembourg in August 2023 followed by England, Iceland, France, and the US. India detected its first positive case of Covid JN.1 on 8th December 2023 in Kerala when a 79 years old woman tested positive on the RT-PCR test after showcasing mild symptoms of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) like fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, etc. According to the Health Ministry, Kerala recorded 339 new COVID-19 infections with the maximum single-day rise on 16th December 2023. Besides, one death was reported in Kerala. The Union Health Ministry is in regular touch with the Kerala Health Department and is also monitoring various entry points of the state. Meanwhile the Karnataka government on 18th December asked those above 60 years of age, with comorbidities, and those with symptoms of cough, phlegm, and fever to mandatorily wear face masks, in the wake of the detection of a case of COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 in neighboring Kerala. On whether there will be any restriction on Ayyappa pilgrims returning from Kerala, Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “As of now there are no curbs on movement of people or gathering.” The central government has issued an advisory to the state governments urging them to make adequate health arrangements.