New Covid wave in Singapore: No need for panic, assures Tamil Nadu government

290 cases of KP.2 and 34 cases of KP.1, the sub-lineages that are responsible for the surge in cases in Singapore, was found in India.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 22, 2024 | 3:24 PM Updated May 22, 2024 | 3:24 PM

New Covid wave in Singapore: No need for panic, assures Tamil Nadu government

The new Covid wave in Singapore is a “milder infection” and there was no need for panic and Tamil Nadu has the required infrastructure to face any situation, a top official said on Wednesday, 22 May.

Director of the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHPM) Dr TS Selvavinayagam said, “There has been no significant (hospital) admissions” in Singapore following the outbreak.

“In the last few weeks, it has been reported that there are Covid cases in South Asian countries like Singapore. As far as we (TN) are concerned, there is no need for any apprehension…the Singapore variant, KP.2 is a sub-variant of Omicron and has been reported in some parts of India,” he said.

As many as 290 cases of KP.2 and 34 cases of KP.1, both sub-lineages of Covid-19 that are responsible for the surge in cases in Singapore, have been found in India, according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).

Also Read: 324 cases of COVID-19 variant FLiRT detected in India: INSACOG data

‘No severe infection’

In a video released by the DPHPM, Selvavinayagam said the variant has been “so far giving only milder infection, no severe infection has been reported so far.”

“Not just that, we have almost totally vaccinated the 18-plus population in Tamil Nadu. So even if there is an infection, it will be a milder form and would not require admission.”

Any required precaution would include wearing masks in public places and the need for the elderly, those with co-morbidities and pregnant women to be “extra careful.”

Otherwise, no need for any panic, he added.

“Covid, like other flu, has now become a common respiratory infection. There is a possibility of even one or two waves per year but there is no need for panic. We have sufficient immunity. Also, Tamil Nadu has the requisite infrastructure to face any situation,” he added.

Also Read: ‘Unusual’ form of cell death underlies lung damage in Covid-19 patients: Study

The variants

KP.1 and KP.2 belong to a group of Covid-19 variants that scientists have nicknamed “FLiRT”.

The nomenclature is based on the technical names of the mutations of these subvariants: Fast-Transmitting, Low-Immunity, Rapid-Transforming.

It is a subvariant of the Omicron lineage and has emerged as a significant concern due to its heightened infectiousness.

Singapore is seeing a new Covid-19 wave as the authorities recorded more than 25,900 cases from 5 May to 11 May, with KP.1 and KP.2 accounting for over two-thirds of them.

Globally, the predominant Covid-19 variants are still JN.1 and its sub-lineages, including KP.1 and KP.2.

However, a source in the Union health ministry told PTI that they are all subvariants of JN1 and there is no associated increase in hospitalization and severe cases.

“So there is no reason for concern or panic. The mutations will keep happening at a rapid pace and this is the natural behaviour of viruses like SARS-CoV2,” the source said.

(With PTI inputs)