Covid-19: South Indian states report 20 cases of JN.1 variant; 1 more dies in Kerala

Experts said there was no need for a fourth booster dose. While allaying fears, they advised that caution be exercised.

BySumit Jha

Published Dec 25, 2023 | 3:13 PMUpdatedDec 25, 2023 | 3:17 PM

Three out of every four cases in December 2023 were turning out to be JN.1. (Shutterstock)

South Indian states have reported 20 cases of the JN-1 variant of Covid-19. While Karnataka detected eight cases caused by the latest variant, Kerala reported six, Tamil Nadu four, and Telangana two.

India has detected 63 JN.1 variant cases till Sunday, 24 December, which included 34 from Goa and nine from Maharashtra.

Confirming that there were more cases of the JN.1 variant from Karnataka, a senior official from the Department of Health and Family Welfare said: “There are more than eight samples that have tested positive for the JN.1 variant in the state. We have sent them to the Union Health Ministry.”

Also read: Additional public health risk of JN.1 variant is low, says WHO

New cases in Kerala

Kerala reported one more Covid-19-related death and 376 fresh cases in the 24 hours preceding 8 am on Monday, 25 December, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The number of active cases in the state went up to 3,128. With one more death, the state has seen the loss of 72,064 lives ever since Covid-19 was first detected on 30 January, 2020.

The number of people who were cured, discharged, or migrated during the reporting 24 hours stood at 247.

The total number of cases under this category rose to 68,38,529 till date.

Meanwhile, Karnataka reported 106 cases, and Tamil Nadu 26 cases in the past 24 hours.

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Covid-19 cases in the country

India recorded a single-day spike of 628 new Covid-19 cases while the active caseload jumped to 4,054.

The total number of fatalities was 5,33,334 (5.33 lakh), with the one new death reported from Kerala.

The country’s total Covid-19 case tally was 4,50,09,248 (4.50 crore).

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease has risen to 4,44,71,860 (4.44 crore). The recovery rate was 98.81 percent, while the case fatality rate stood at 1.19 percent.

India has so far administered 220.67 crore vaccine doses, the Health Ministry revealed on its website.

Also Read: Why are genome sequencing, constant monitoring still important?

Is there need for a booster?

Even as the Covid-19 cases keep increasing, talks on the need for a booster dose have become louder.

However, India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) chief Dr NK Arora said that there was no need for a fourth booster dose, despite the Covid-19 surge and the detection of the JN.1 subvariant.

“Only those over 60 years of age who have comorbidities and high-risk patients in this age group may take a precautionary third dose if they have not taken one till now. As of now, there is no need for a fourth dose. We advise precautionary measures,” The Hindu quoted Arora as saying.

He added that new variants, subvariants, and mutations were being reported from around the world.

Earlier, speaking to South First, virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang said India lacked data on whether boosters would be beneficial.

“It would be great if we could do an effectiveness study. But those studies are hard to conduct and extremely expensive. So in the absence of data, it’s hard to make a recommendation on boosters with older strains,” she had said.