New COVID variant: Odisha govt may issue guidelines if required, says Health official

Bhubaneswar: Amid emergence of fresh variant of COVID-19 virus, the Odisha Government may issue guidelines, if necessary, said Bijay Kumar Mohapatra, Director of Health Services, Odisha today.

“The State Government has kept a watch on the situation. If required, necessary guidelines will be issued in Odisha,” the official said.

“New variant JN.1 has not been detected in Odisha, so far. In the case of detection of such case, genome sequencing will be carried out,” he said.

“As advised by the Central Government, surveillance of symptomatic cases will continue in the state. We have sufficient beds and logistics for treatment of patients. Those having symptoms should undergo COVID test and avoid crowded places,” said Mohapatra.

The Union Health Ministry on Monday issued an advisory to states over the fresh surge in Covid-19 cases in some states/ UTs in India and the detection of the first case of the new JN.1, a sub-variant of Omicron, in Kerala.

In the letter, Union Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant highlighted the need for maintaining a state of constant vigil over the Covid situation in the country.

Looking at the upcoming festive season, the Union Health Secretary advised the states to put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize risk of increase in transmission of the disease by adherence to maintenance of respiratory hygiene.

All states have been advised to ensure adequate testing in all the districts as per Covid testing guidelines and maintain the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen tests. They have also been asked to monitor and report district-wise Influenza-like Illness (ILI) & Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis including in the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) portal, for detecting the early rising trend of cases.

The ministry also encouraged to increase number of RT-PCR tests and send positive samples for genome sequencing to Indian SARS COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratories so as to enable timely detection of new variants.

JN.1 is a sub-lineage of the BA.2.86 Omicron variant and was first detected in Luxembourg in August, before spreading to other countries. BA.2.86, also known as the “Pirola” variant, was first detected in Denmark in July.

(with IANS inputs)

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