Pakistan confirms four cases of JN.1 Covid-19 sub-variant 

Staff Reporter 04:31 PM, 7 Jan, 2024
Pakistan confirms four cases of JN.1 Covid-19 sub-variant 

ISLAMABAD: Health authorities in Pakistan have officially confirmed the presence of four cases of the JN.1 sub-variant of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, saying the patients in question recently arrived in the country from abroad, exhibited mild symptoms and subsequently recovered from the virus without requiring medical intervention.

It was announced in a statement issued by the National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination (NHS, R&C).

As per the statement, genome sequencing conducted on these cases identified the JN.1 sub-variant, which has invited international attention as the World Health Organization has declared it a Variant of Concern.

Health officials note that JN.1 is rapidly becoming the dominant sub-variant within the global Omicron lineage, displacing other sub-variants.

Meanwhile, Sindh health department has confirmed two cases of Covid-19 in passengers arriving at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. Health officials suspect these cases to be the highly transmissible JN.1 variant, causing worldwide concern.

The affected passengers, aged between 50 and 60, arrived from Bangkok and Jeddah, respectively. Lab samples have been dispatched to the Dow University of Health Sciences laboratory for further analysis.

Earlier, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) decided to implement mandatory Covid testing for passengers arriving from abroad.

In response to the emerging threat, health authorities initiated testing for two percent of inbound travelers, with samples subsequently subjected to genome sequencing to detect the JN.1 sub-variant. This precautionary measure follows the identification of the JN.1 sub-variant in neighboring India and other countries.

Caretaker Federal Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan sought to allay concerns, saying that there is no need for panic, as 90 percent of the Pakistani population has received Covid-19 vaccinations. Dr Jan assured the public that border health services authorities are actively monitoring the situation in accordance with international health regulations.

He urged the public to persist in practicing preventive measures, including wearing masks, regular hand washing, and maintaining social distance, to safeguard against Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses.