Steady rise in number of Covid-19 cases: Government not considering travel curbs, mask mandates for now

Share this post on:
New Delhi: The government has no plans for travel restrictions, mask mandates, or even recommendations for booster shots despite a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, a senior official in the health ministry told ET.

While public health experts say that Covid-19 cases will increase in winters, they, however, stressed that there is no need to get another vaccine shot as the potential to cause severe illness from the latest variant of coronavirus is less than the previous variants.

“Our best information is that the current Coronavirus vaccines, even those based on the ancestral strain such as those administered in India, should continue to work on JN.1. The disease severity associated with the sub variant JN.1 is expected to be comparable to the other circulating variants, not worse,” said Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University.

Anurag Agrawal, a former head of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (Insacog) and chair of the World Health Organization’s technical advisory group on virus evolution, however, said that for very vulnerable person, the Omicron variant’s updated vaccine as a booster may have value. “Not worth it for the general population,” he added.

Experts say there is no renewed risk of Covid-10 causing severe illness. “So far no clustering or severity in illness has not been seen,” said a member of Insacog, the network of laboratories set up to monitor genomic variations of the coronavirus.On Thursday, 358 new cases of Covid were reported in India, of which 300 cases were from Kerala alone. The positivity rate in Kerala is above 30%. Six deaths were reported on Wednesday and so far, 23 people have died in the last two and half weeks.In India, the XBB variant continues to remain dominant, the data suggests.

An INSACOG member, speaking on cthe ondition of anonymity, said JN.1 has not been detected in sewage surveillance, indicating that there are no widespread infections. JN.1 is seen as the main cause of new Covid cases in the US. It has also been reported from China and Singapore. On Tuesday, while declaring JN.1 a variant of interest, WHO said it did not pose much threat to public health.

Share this post on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *