New Covid variant scare: K’taka minister says no need to panic

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Bengaluru, Jan 2 (IANS) Allaying the fears over the increasing number of cases of Covid-19 sub-variant JN.1 in Karnataka, Minister for Medical Education, Sharan Prakash Patil on Tuesday said that there was no need to panic and urged people to take precautionary measures to tackle the spread of the virus.

The minister convened a meeting with the heads of medical institutions and hospitals coming under the purview of the medical education department along with the head of the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee and its members at Vikasa Soudha here.

Speaking on the death of 10 patients in the state recently, Patil said Covid was not the cause, adding the patients who died were suffering from various diseases.

He added that 9 out of 10 people were suffering from heart, kidney and other ailments and one person from Mangaluru was alcoholic and not vaccinated.

Sharan Prakash Patil also reviewed the prevailing situation and took stock of the preparedness to tackle Covid-19 in the state.

Addressing the media personnel after the meeting, the minister downplayed the impact of JN.1 sub-variant by citing the statements of World Health Organization and experts.

“Even though the WHO and many health experts have stated that the JN.1 sub-variant is unlikely to cause serious health problems for the infected people, I have instructed officials to be vigilant and take precautionary measures and create awareness among the people.

“The state has received 30,000 Covid vaccines from the Centre. We have taken all the steps to prevent its shortage,” said the minister.

Replying to a question on the Covid vaccination, Patil said that there was no specific direction from the Central government on new vaccines.

“We will give the same vaccines that were administered during the first and second wave of the pandemic. And people above 60 years and those with comorbidities can get vaccinated at district hospitals from Wednesday.

“The experts have opined that the JN.1 sub-variant is likely to spread rapidly but unlikely to cause serious health issues. So there was no need to panic. We will not issue order making masks mandatory, but people need to be careful in crowded places,” added the minister.



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