Healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stand outside a donning area at a COVID-19 care facility, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Mumbai, India, May 4, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Four new cases of JN1 Covid strain confirmed

Health authorities remain vigilant, closely monitoring the situation

Our Correspondent January 08, 2024

The emergence of a new coronavirus variant, JN1, a subvariant of Omicron, has raised concerns as four cases were confirmed on Sunday in Pakistan.

Despite mild symptoms exhibited by the infected individuals, health authorities remain vigilant.

The Ministry of Health spokesperson confirmed the recovery of all four patients without encountering any complications.

The development comes amid global attention on this new strain, with the World Health Organization (WHO) classifying JN1 as a "variant of interest." Presently, WHO assesses the risk to public health from this strain as low based on existing evidence.

Dr Nadeem Jan, the caretaker health minister, assured that authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

In response to the emergence of JN1, Border Health Services, alongside national and provincial health authorities and laboratories, are on high alert to ensure robust disease surveillance.

Read New Covid-19 variant detected at Karachi airport

Rigorous screening measures have been implemented at international airports across entry and exit points.

Dr Jan emphasised the implementation of international health regulations by the Border Health Services Department and highlighted the comprehensive readiness of both federal and provincial bodies.

Notably, approximately 90% of Pakistan's population has received vaccination against Covid-19, a critical measure in combatting the spread of such variants.

As winter brings its own challenges, Dr Jan reiterated the importance of preventive measures, urging the public to continue wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and following health guidelines to curb the spread of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases.

It is pertinent to note that a few days ago, the federal government had decided to secure 500,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in response to the potential resurgence of the new variant observed in multiple countries.

The procurement strategy for Pfizer vaccines from the US was devised based on recommendations from the Emergency Operation Centre’s (EOC) technical advisory group.

On Friday, the Sindh Health Department confirmed the presence of a new variant of Covid-19 in two passengers arriving from overseas at Karachi Airport. However, it had clarified that no cases of the variant have been reported within the Sindh province.


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