COVID-19 subvariant XBB 1.16 cases rise in India; guidelines revised
The Centre has issued revised guidelines amid the continuous daily COVID-19 case spike in the country. On Monday, India witnessed a single-day rise of 918 coronavirus cases and four deaths, while active cases rose to 6,350, the Union Health Ministry data revealed. Experts blamed the recent spike on the newly discovered XBB 1.16 subvariant but said there had been no alarming trend so far.
Why does this story matter?
- The latest spike in COVID-19 cases comes at a time when several parts of India are reporting a significant rise in H3N2 influenza cases.
- Amid the double threat of COVID-19 and H3N2, the health ministry earlier issued an advisory to states and union territories, urging them to implement operational policies for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens causing influenza-type infections and acute respiratory diseases.
COVID-19 spike prompts Centre to issue revised guidelines
Alarmingly, India also reported 1,070 coronavirus infections on Sunday, the highest number in four months. In view of this, revised guidelines have been issued. "Antibiotics should not be used unless there is clinical suspicion of bacterial infection," read the revised guidelines. "The possibility of coinfection of COVID-19 with other endemic infections must be considered. Systemic corticosteroids are not indicated in mild disease," they added.
Crucial meeting on Monday; states alerted too
As per reports, the top medical body entrusted with making coronavirus containment strategies will likely meet on Monday to address the evolving situation. India saw a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with Kerala, Maharashtra, and Gujarat reporting the most active cases. The Centre has recommended three states, including Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, follow the test, track, treat, and vaccinate strategy.
New COVID-19 subvariant XBB 1.16 blamed for fresh spike
The current COVID-19 surge is most likely related to the recently discovered XBB 1.16 subvariant, reports said. According to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), 76 samples of the XBB 1.16 subvariant have been detected in the country, Business Today reported. India reportedly has the most XBB 1.16 cases, followed by the United States. Many believe this subtype will spark a new pandemic wave.
India sees 281% increase in COVID-19 cases: Expert
Situation not alarming; hand hygiene, COVID-19-appropriate behavior must: INSACOG
Saumitra Das, co-chair of INSACOG's advisory board, told News18 that there isn a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, although hospitalization and mortality rates are not concerning. Das referred to the novel coronavirus as "an intelligent pathogen" that has been mutating to penetrate the human body. However, he noted that the situation was not concerning, urging people to practice hand hygiene and COVID-19-appropriate behavior.
Know more about XBB 1.16 subvariant
According to experts, the COVID-19 XBB 1.16 subvariant is the fastest spreading subtype discovered thus far and has the potential to spread at an alarming rate. However, no deaths have been reported as a result of it, presumably because many people have developed herd immunity to the virus, shielding them from prolonged illness and potentially fatal symptoms.