On Saturday, India reported over 800 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day for the first time in 126 days. The number of active cases has also risen to 5,389.
According to the latest data from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a total of 76 samples of the XBB.1.16 variant of COVID-19 have been detected in the country. This variant is believed to be behind the recent surge in cases, with samples found in Karnataka (30), Maharashtra (29), Puducherry (7), Delhi (5), Telangana (2), Gujarat (1), Himachal Pradesh (1), and Odisha (1).
The XBB 1.16 variant was first identified in January when two samples tested positive, and in February, a total of 59 samples were found. So far in March, 15 more samples of the variant have been detected. Experts have warned that this variant could be responsible for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Dr Randeep Guleria, former AIIMS director who led the national Covid task force, has suggested that the rise in Covid cases may be due to the XBB 1.16 variant, while an increase in influenza cases is likely due to H3N2.
“For both of this, following Covid-appropriate behaviour can help to contain the spread of infection. And also most of the cases are not severe; so there is no need to panic as of now,” the chairman, Institute of Internal Medicine, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Director-Medical Education at Medanta and former AIIMS director said.
"All eyes should be on India! If XBB.1.16 aka #Arcturus could succeed to wade through the 'sturdy' population immunity of Indians that successfully resisted the onslaught of variants like BA.2.75, BA.5, BQs, XBB.1.5, then whole world must be seriously worried!!" Vipin M Vashishtha, former convenor of Indian Academy of Pediatrics and consultant paediatrician at the Mangla Hospital and Research Centre tweeted.
Meanwhile, in a letter to six states, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised them to examine the situation of COVID-19 at the micro-level and maintain focus on the implementation of necessary measures for prompt and effective management of the disease.
(With Agency inputs)
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today