Karnataka News: Govt makes wearing face masks mandatory amid Covid sub-variant JN.1 scare in neighbouring Kerala

Covid-19 Update: In response to growing concerns about the Covid-19 subvariant JN.1 in Kerala, the Karnataka government under the leadership of CM Siddaramaiah has mandated mask-wearing for individuals aged 60 and above, as well as those with comorbidities.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, Karnataka’s Health Minister, has announced an intensified testing initiative for individuals exhibiting symptoms of the Covid-19 subvariant JN.1. Additionally, heightened surveillance measures have been implemented in border districts adjacent to Kerala.

Continuous monitoring is in progress, and as of now, there are no restrictions on the movement or gatherings of people, as reiterated by Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao. He emphasized that the government will issue advisory guidelines based on the evolving situation.

Seeking to reassure the public, Rao conveyed that there is no need for alarm. Consultations with experts, including discussions with the technical advisory committee led by Dr. K Ravi, have taken place to determine necessary measures.

Individuals aged 60 and above, those with comorbidities such as heart and kidney issues, and those presenting symptoms like cough, phlegm, and fever are mandated to wear masks. Hospitals and health centers have received instructions to enhance preparedness, with a specific focus on increased surveillance in border districts such as Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, and Chamarajanagara that share borders with Kerala.

Responding to inquiries about potential restrictions on Ayyappa pilgrims returning from Kerala, Rao clarified that, currently, there are no limitations on the movement or gatherings of people.

The Covid-19 Subvariant JN.1, considered a variant of Omicron BA.2.86 or Pirola, exhibits similarities with previous Omicron strains, showcasing high transmissibility and mild symptoms. Though not significantly distinct, preventive measures remain crucial, especially for vulnerable populations.

The JN.1 variant was initially detected in the USA in September, and concerns about its spread were raised when seven cases were reported in China on December 15.

Symptoms of the Covid-19 Subvariant JN.1 include fever, runny nose, sore throat, and gastrointestinal issues.

As of the latest update, India has reported 260 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total Covid case tally to 4.50 crore (4,50,05,076), with 1,828 active cases. The death toll stands at 5,33,317.

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