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India Sees 636 New COVID-19 Cases, Concerns Mount Over Rising Variant JN.1 Infections

As India records 636 new COVID-19 cases, concerns escalate with the emergence of variant JN.1, prompting government advisories and mandatory mask-wearing in Leh district amid rising infections.

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Untested treatment options were often sold at several times its price during the peak of Covid-19. (
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India reported 636 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total active cases to 4,394, as disclosed by the health ministry. Over the past 24 hours, three new fatalities were recorded – two in Kerala and one in Tamil Nadu. The recent surge is attributed to the emergence of a new variant and colder weather conditions, reversing the decline observed until December 5 last year.

Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, India has witnessed over 4.5 crore infections and more than 5.3 lakh deaths. However, the national recovery rate stands at 98.81percent, with over 4.4 crore people having successfully recovered from the virus. The country has administered a total of 220.67 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

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Concerns arise as 196 cases of the COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 have been identified, with Odisha being the latest state to detect its presence. Ten states and Union territories, including Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, have reported instances of the JN.1 sub-variant, according to data from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). While the World Health Organization classifies JN.1 as a "variant of interest," it emphasizes a "low" global public health risk.

In response to the escalating cases, the central government has urged states and Union territories to remain vigilant. Meanwhile, in Leh, where 11 COVID-19 cases were recorded last week, the district administration has mandated the wearing of masks in public places. Precautionary measures include the compulsory use of face masks in offices, workplaces, and public spaces, along with the maintenance of social distancing. Authorities emphasize the avoidance of unnecessary gatherings, and the chief medical officer is tasked with ensuring rigorous surveillance and daily reporting on the COVID-19 status to the District Disaster Management Authority.

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