Maharashtra Govt: Covid-19 Task Force to be constituted to study threats from JN 1 variant

Tanaji Sawant

Maharashtra Govt: Covid-19 Task Force to be constituted to study threats from JN 1 variant

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The Maharashtra government will establish a Covid-19 task force to investigate potential new threats arising from the JN.1 strain of the Covid virus, following an increase in cases in the state and reports of its detection in Kerala, Maharashtra, and a few other regions of the nation.

Health minister Tanaji Sawant said that the Covid-19 task force will be formed. The task force will publish recommendations regarding vaccinations, preventative measures, and Covid-19 management, which will be applied statewide. They are keeping an eye on Covid-19 cases in both public and private hospitals, including the JN.1 sub-variant. In both government and private hospitals, JN.1-infected Covid-19 cases are to be reported daily to a district-level nodal officer. New Covid-19 cases—even those at the taluka level—will be tracked and reported every two hours.

Sawant further said that in order to discuss challenges encountered when managing Covid-19 cases, all district health officers and civil surgeons in the state have been asked to maintain daily communication with taluka health officers, primary health centers, rural hospitals, and sub-district hospitals. The minister informed that they have been directed to provide district health officers and civil surgeons with a daily report regarding the conditions of Covid-19 patients.

Sawant went on to say that there is no information available regarding the new JN.1 sub-variant’s severity, transmission, complications, or symptoms. There is only one JN.1-infected patient in the state, and they have requested the treating doctors to provide them with the full case report, including a detailed history. They won’t be able to forecast the severity or any additional complications brought on by this new sub-variant of Covid-19 until Monday, when this report becomes available. The report has also asked for details regarding the patient’s travel history, the infection’s origin, and whether it has spread to any family members. Though not very symptomatic, the new sub-variant cannot be ignored.

Sawant further said that reports of the deaths of two Covid-19 patients in Kerala—who were identified as having the JN.1 sub-variant of the virus—had even been accessed by the state government. The minister stated that neither patient’s death was related to Covid; rather, they both had underlying medical issues and were elderly. Although taking precautions is necessary, there is no need to panic. For their own safety, high-risk elderly individuals should stay away from crowded areas during the holiday season and adhere to Covid-19-appropriate behavior.

The health minister further added that all state hospitals have been instructed to conduct mock drills to assess their readiness for the Covid pandemic. They currently have enough personnel, medications, beds, ambulances, and oxygen on hand. The World Health Organization, federal government, and state governments will provide guidelines that will be followed when making decisions about testing and imposing restrictions.