Pakistan on Sunday reported four cases of the JN.1 sub-variant of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, with health officials saying all affected had mild symptoms and had recovered without medical intervention.
Confirming the presence of the highly contagious variant in the country, a spokesman for the Health Ministry said all four affected had traveled from abroad. He said that the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination had conducted genome sequencing of the infected and found the presence of the JN.1 sub-variant.
Currently a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization, JN.1 has already been detected in various countries globally and is rapidly becoming the primary variant of COVID-19.
Commenting on the detection of the JN.1 sub-variant, interim Health Minister Dr. Nadeem Jan said there was no need to panic. Noting 90 percent of the Pakistani population was already vaccinated, he said border health services authorities were vigilant and active as per international health regulations.
“People should adopt preventive measures and use masks, wash hands frequently with soap or use hand sanitizers and adopt social distancing to prevent themselves from flu and other respiratory illnesses including COVID-19,” he advised.
Last week, health authorities initiated mandatory testing for COVID-19 of 2% of all inbound passengers, with random samples to be sent for genome sequencing to detect the JN.1 sub-variant. The move was initiated after the sub-variant was found in neighboring India and other countries of the world. According to health experts, JN.1 does not appear any deadlier than the Omicron variant, but has been seen to spread rapidly, encouraging precautionary measures to avoid mass spreading.