A total of 349 samples of Covid-19's XBB.1.16 variant, which might have been behind the recent rise of coronavirus cases in the country, have been detected, according to INSACOG data. These 349 samples of the variant have been found in nine states and Union Territories.
The highest number of cases due to this variant has been found in Maharashtra at 105, followed by Telangana 93, Karnataka 61 and Gujarat 54, according to INSACOG data accessed by PTI.
XBB 1.16 was first found in January when two samples tested positive for the variant. In February, 140 samples of the XBB 1.16 variant were found. In March, 207 XBB 1.16 variant samples have been found till now, according to INSACOG data.
India has been witnessing an uptick in Covid-19 cases in the country recently. On Thursday, India logged 1,300 new coronavirus cases, the highest in 140 days, while the active cases have increased to 7,605. The death toll has increased to 5,30,816 with three deaths. One death each has been reported by Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, the data updated at 8 am stated.
Former AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Wednesday that the new XBB.1.16 variant could be driving the recent rise. However, he emphasised there was no need for panic as long it does not cause severe illness and death.
According to him, new variants will keep coming as the virus keeps on mutating over time and the XBB 1.16 is sort of a 'new kid on the block'. The XBB.1.16 is a recombinant lineage of the virus and is a descendent of the XBB lineage of Covid-19.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting and called for maintaining vigil and precaution amid a spike in influenza and coronavirus cases in the country in the past two weeks. He stressed the need to enhance genome sequencing and adhereing to Covid-appropriate behaviour, an official statement said.