Amid rising cases of COVID in Kerala including the detection of one case of subvariant JN.1, Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao ruled out the need to restrict movement on the border at present adding that the government has ensured all precautionary measures.
In response to the rising COVID cases in Kerala, Minister Rao addressed concerns, stating, “Right now, I do not think we should panic, but we will keep an extra vigil.”
The Minister ruled out the need for checking on border areas or restricting movement, emphasizing, “I do not think there is a panic situation, right now there is no need to restrict movement on the border.”
Regarding preparedness, the Minister assured that measures have been taken to ensure the availability of ICU beds and essential drugs. “we have done a mock drill. We have asked them to keep everything ready to prevent any shortages,” the Minister mentioned.
Currently, Karnataka reports 58 active cases, with 11 hospitalized and one COVID-related death, compounded by other comorbidities.
“There is nothing to worry about. As per our records, we have about 58 active cases, 11 are hospitalized and the remaining are at home. So far in the last three months, we have had one death due to COVID-19 but the person who died had other co-morbidities also,” the Minister said.
Highlighting precautionary steps, the Minister stated, “We are already taking precautionary measures. We have informed all the hospitals and health centres to increase testing for those who come with symptoms of cough and flu and other COVID-like symptoms.”
Acknowledging the need for more RT-PCR kits, the Minister added, “We have some in stock, but we will be requiring more.”
The Minister also said that he spoke to the chairman of the technical advisory committee, stating, “The technical advisory will be meeting today, mostly online,” while affirming plans to issue directions based on recommendations from the advisory committee, the Minister said, “We will issue the directions today or tomorrow as soon as the committee gives recommendations.”

Earlier today, Kerala Health Minister Veena George appealed to the people to stay vigilant.
The specific case of JN.1 was identified in an RT-PCR positive sample from Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on 8th December 2023. The patient, who initially tested positive on November 18, 2023, experienced mild symptoms of ILI and has since recovered from COVID-19.
“No need for any worry. That is a sub-variant (COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1). Two or three months back it was detected in Indians when they were tested at Singapore airport,” George said.
“As Kerala’s health system is good, we could detect it through genomic sequencing. No need to worry. We are keenly monitoring the situation. But we should be alert. People with comorbidities should be taken care of,” she added.
The Union Ministry of Health has initiated preparedness measures after a case of the JN.1 subvariant of COVID was identified in Kerala as part of the ongoing routine surveillance conducted by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
A mock drill is underway in health facilities across states, evaluating public health and hospital readiness. This exercise, overseen by district collectors, commenced on December 13 and is scheduled for completion by December 18, 2023.
While the majority of cases in Kerala are reported to be clinically mild, the health authorities emphasize the importance of ongoing vigilance and preparedness to effectively manage the evolving situation related to COVID-19 variants.
The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a network of Genomic Laboratories, has been actively monitoring the genomic aspects of COVID-19 in India.
The reported symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, and, in some cases, mild gastrointestinal symptoms. The health authorities highlight that most patients experience these mild upper respiratory symptoms, which typically improve within four to five days.
JN.1 was first detected in September 2023 in the United States. (ANI)