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COVID-19 Precautions Amid JN.1 Sub-Variant Alert: Urgent Advisory for Over 60s, Pregnant Women, and More in Karnataka

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BENGALURU:

On Tuesday, the Karnataka government issued an advisory urging specific groups of people to take precautions amidst the current COVID-19 situation in the country and the detection of the JN.1 sub-variant in neighboring Kerala. The advisory specifically targets individuals above the age of 60, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. It advises them to wear face masks when outdoors and to avoid closed, poorly ventilated spaces and crowded areas.

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Additionally, the government has instructed authorities in districts bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu to remain vigilant and ensure adequate testing and timely reporting of COVID-19 cases.

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Given the current scenario of COVID-19 in the country, the emergence of the JN.1 sub-variant, the ongoing winter season, and the expected increase in gatherings during the year-end and New Year festivities, the general public is strongly advised to follow the precautionary measures recommended by the COVID-19 State Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

The advisory, issued by Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Services, Randeep D, emphasizes that elderly individuals (60 years and above), those with underlying health conditions (especially kidney, heart, and liver ailments), pregnant women, and lactating mothers should wear face masks when outdoors and strictly avoid closed, poorly ventilated spaces and crowded areas.

Individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, and a runny nose are urged to seek medical consultation promptly. They should also wear face masks that cover both the nose and mouth and avoid closed, poorly ventilated spaces and crowded areas.

The circular further emphasizes the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing. It advises individuals who are unwell to stay at home and minimize contact with others, especially seniors and vulnerable individuals. Wearing a mask is strongly advised in crowded places, particularly if they are poorly ventilated.

“When traveling overseas, it is crucial to remain vigilant and take appropriate travel precautions. This includes wearing masks at the airport and inside aircraft, as well as avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation,” stated the advisory.

The circular emphasized the importance of adhering to preventive and proactive measures in Karnataka due to the reported cases of Covid-19 in Kerala. However, there is no immediate need to panic or impose restrictions on cross-border surveillance between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Nevertheless, it is essential for all districts bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu to maintain a state of vigilance. This includes conducting sufficient testing and promptly reporting any Covid cases. The circular specifically recommends testing all severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases and at least 1 in 20 influenza-like illness (ILI) cases for Covid-19 at both private and government tertiary centers, including medical colleges.

Furthermore, the circular provides a list of specific cases where whole genome sequencing should be conducted.”

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