COVID-19 sub variant JN.1: Karnataka on high alert; TAC to meet on December 19

Karnataka is on high alert following cases of the new COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1, a descendant of BA.2.86, being detected in parts of Kerala.

December 16, 2023 11:00 pm | Updated December 20, 2023 04:46 pm IST - Bengaluru 

Minister Dinesh Gundurao addressing the media on the COVID-19 situation in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Minister Dinesh Gundurao addressing the media on the COVID-19 situation in Bengaluru on Saturday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Following rising COVID-19 cases in neighbouring Kerala and a slight increase in Karnataka, the State is on a high alert. 

State Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, who held a meeting with officials on Saturday to take stock of the situation, said the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will meet on December 19 to discuss the impact of the new COVID-19 sub variant JN.1, a descendant of BA.2.86, being detected in parts of Kerala. “We have asked the TAC to discuss and recommend precautionary measures to be initiated. The TAC chairman K. Ravi said that the committee will meet on December 19,” the Minister told presspersons after the meeting.

Also Read | As cases rise in Kerala, Tamil Nadu to keep a close watch on COVID-19 situation

58 actives cases

“Of the 58 active COVID-19 cases currently in Karnataka, 11 are hospitalised (five in ward and six in ICU) while the remaining are in home isolation. There have been no deaths reported in the past two months. However, one death of a 64 year old has been reported from a Bengaluru hospital on December 15. The patient had multiple comorbidities and COVID-19 was an incidental finding,” the Minister said.

Asserting that there is no need to panic or ramp up cross border surveillance as of now, the Minister said he had, however, instructed officials to ensure testing of all SARI cases and one in 20 ILI cases for COVID-19 in all private and government tertiary centres including medical colleges. “All border districts have been directed to be vigilant and ensure adequate testing and reporting,” he said.


The Karnataka State Medical Supplies Corporation Ltd. (KSMSCL) has been directed to procure RTPCR and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits and other required consumables to ensure adequate supply in all the government hospitals for the next three months, he said.

Following the Centre’s directions, a mock drill has been initiated in all the government and private hospitals in the State. The exercise started on Thursday to take stock of preparedness to address any surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We are monitoring the availability of health facilities geographically, bed capacities, human resource capacity, referral services, testing capacities, logistics, medical oxygen and telemedicine services. The drill will be completed on December 18 and based on the findings, any shortcomings will be addressed,” the Minister said.

“I have also directed the officials to ensure that samples of COVID-29 positive cases with CT value of less than 25 are sent to BMCRI for genome sequencing. This will help us in identifying the prevalent strains in the community,” he added.

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