A case of COVID-19 sub-variant JN. 1 has been detected in Kerala as part of an ongoing routine surveillance activity of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a senior official from the Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR) said on Saturday.

The case was detected in an RT-PCR positive sample from Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram district of the southern state on December 8, Dr Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the ICMR, said.

The sample had tested RT-PCR positive on November 18, he added.

The 79-year-old woman had mild symptoms of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and has since recovered from Covid.

"There has been an increasing trend of COVID-19 cases from the state of Kerala since the last few weeks. This has been attributed to an increase in the number of samples from ILI cases being referred for testing," Bahl said.

A majority of these cases are clinically mild and the patients are recovering on their own at their homes, without any treatment, he added.

As part of a regular exercise of the Union health ministry, a mock drill at all health facilities in the states is underway to assess their public-health and hospital-preparedness measures.

This activity, which started from December 13, is being carried out under the overall supervision of the district collectors and is likely to be completed by December 18, Bahl said.

The Union ministry is in regular touch with the Kerala health department and monitoring various entry points to the state.

The INSACOG is a network of genomic laboratories that has been monitoring COVID-19 in India from a genomic perspective. The ICMR is a part of the consortium.

According to the revised surveillance guidelines in the context of COVID-19, patients of ILI and SARI are tested for the viral disease and the positive cases referred for whole genome sequencing (WGS).

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by staff)