Saturday, February 24, 2024

Union govt asks states to report influenza-like illnesses amid surge in COVID-19 cases

The Union government on Monday asked state governments to monitor and report influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory illnesses amid the surge in coronavirus cases in some states and Union Territories.

This also comes following the detection of the first case of the new JN.1 variant of coronavirus in India.

The COVID-19 caseload in India as of Monday was 1,828. Kerala, where the JN.1 variant has been detected, has reported one death.

“[As COVID-19] continues to circulate and its epidemiology behaviour gets settled in Indian weather conditions and the circulation of other usual pathogens, it is of utmost importance that we maintain a state of constant vigil over the Covid-19 situation, right up to the district levels,” the health ministry said.

The health ministry has asked states to boost the volume of RT-PCR tests and forward positive samples for genome sequencing to the laboratories of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, aiming to identify new virus variants.

States have been advised to put in place public health measures and other arrangements to minimise the transmission of the disease, the Union said on Monday. State governments have also been advised to adhere to the operational guidelines issued in June 2022 as part of the revised surveillance strategy to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Following the identification of the new variant, the Karnataka government mandated mask-wearing for individuals aged 60 and above, those with comorbidities, and those displaying symptoms such as cough, phlegm, and fever starting Monday.

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