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636 new cases; Kerala takes measures to avoid spread

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India is grappling with a surge in Covid-19 cases linked to the JN.1 sub-variant, prompting both central and state governments to exercise heightened vigilance and readiness. The country recorded 636 new cases as of 8 am on Monday morning, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases to 45,013,908 since January 2020. According to central government data, there are currently 4,394 active cases in the country. Kerela has the highest number of active cases at 1,869, followed by Karnataka (1,000 cases), and Maharashtra (693). While maximum cases appear to be in the Southern part of the country, northern states have also reported more cases of Covid-19.

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj told ANI on Sunday, that the capital recorded 10 new Covid cases in 24 hours, with no instances of the new variant detected so far. 841 fresh cases on Sunday, marked the highest single-day rise in over seven months. The recent spike, amounting to close to 8,500 cases in the last two weeks of December, reignited concerns as the year concluded with a resurgence of Covid-19 during the winter.

In December, the first case of the JN.1 variant, considered a descendant of the Omicron sub-variant known as BA.2.86 or Pirola, was identified in Kerala. The confirmed JN.1 case involved a 79-year-old woman detected on December 17.


Maharashtra reported 131 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, with 10 cases attributed to the JN.1 variant. The state’s Public Health Department highlighted that 8,023,576 Covid-19 patients have been discharged after recovery, resulting in a recovery rate of 98.17 per cent. Out of 87,633,748 laboratory samples, 8,172,836 have tested positive (9.33 per cent) for Covid-19 until now.

As of January 1, 2023, Maharashtra has recorded 137 Covid-19 deaths, with 70.80 per cent occurring in individuals over 60 years of age. Of the deceased, 84 per cent had comorbidities, while 16 per cent did not.

Kerala reported the highest number of deaths (three) in 24 hours, followed by Karnataka (two), Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu (one each). The number of daily Covid-19 cases had dropped to double digits until December 5 but rose again with the emergence of the JN.1 variant and cold weather conditions.

Authorities in India are actively monitoring seven checkpoints along the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border region to prevent the spread of the JN.1 sub-variant. Teams formed by health departments are conducting intensive surveillance at these checkpoints, conducting thermal testing for passengers arriving from Kerala.

Amid the rising cases, Health Minister Bhardwaj observed a pattern where a rise often follows an increase in cases in South India in cases in North India.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jan 01 2024 | 11:16 AM IST


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