Government issues advisory during Covid surge, urging reporting of symptoms and ramping up testing in light of the new JN.1 variant in India.

Government advises increased testing and symptom reporting amid Covid surge, citing the new JN.1 variant in India.

As Covid-19 cases rise and the first instance of the JN.1 variant is identified in India, the Central government has called upon states to remain vigilant, reporting all influenza-like and severe acute respiratory illnesses. States are also advised to escalate RT-PCR testing and submit positive samples for genome sequencing.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued a press release stating that the Union Health Secretary has sent a letter to States/UTs, emphasizing the importance of sustained vigilance regarding the Covid-19 situation in the country.

He emphasized that the sustained low rates in the trajectory of Covid-19 have been possible due to continuous and collaborative efforts between the Central and state governments. The ministry has outlined specific strategies for Covid control.

“In anticipation of the upcoming festive season, states were recommended to implement necessary public health measures and arrangements to mitigate the risk of increased disease transmission through the adherence to respiratory hygiene practices,” it stated.

“States have been directed to vigilantly monitor and report all cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) in health facilities for early detection. They are also urged to enhance the volume of RT-PCR tests and submit positive samples for genome sequencing to Indian SARS COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratories, facilitating the prompt identification of any new variants in the country,” the statement highlighted.


India identified its inaugural case of the Covid-19 sub-variant JN.1 in Kerala on December 8. Several states, including Kerala, have recently observed an increase in Covid cases.

The specific instance of JN.1 was detected in an RT-PCR positive sample from Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on December 8, 2023. The patient, initially testing positive on November 18, 2023, exhibited mild ILI symptoms and has since successfully recovered from Covid-19.

Leave a Comment