Health Ministry warns of rising risk from JN.1 sub-variant of Covid-19

Kathmandu: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has issued a cautionary advisory, urging the public to exercise vigilance as the risk associated with the JN.1, a sub-variant of the Covid-19 virus, continues to escalate.

While the JN.1 sub-variant has witnessed a surge in infection rates globally, including confirmed cases in neighboring countries like India and China, Nepal has not yet reported any confirmed cases through gene sequencing technology. However, the health ministry stresses the potential risk and advises the public to adhere to recommended safety measures in crowded places. This includes the use of masks, maintaining physical distance, and emphasizing hand hygiene.

Dr. Prakash Budhathoki, spokesperson for the MoHP, stated that although the JN.1 sub-variant has not been confirmed in Nepal, the ministry is actively monitoring and coordinating with neighboring countries. The border areas have reported sporadic cases of Covid-19 infection.

In response to the increasing risk, the MoHP has initiated screening and monitoring at all entry point help desks, health institutions, and relevant stakeholders. Additionally, preparations for Covid-19 infection management are underway.

Experts suggest that the JN.1 sub-variant, being a mutation of the Omicron variant, may spread rapidly due to changes in the gene ‘spike protein.’ However, it is believed to be less fatal than the Delta variant. The MoHP underscores the importance of public compliance with health standards, especially in crowded settings such as banquets and parties, to mitigate the potential spread of the virus.