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New Covid variant … “Arcturus” behind surge in cases in India

New Delhi: After the surge in cases in India, the country is cautious. The confirmation of Arcturus, a new COVID variant, has resulted in a tenfold increase in COVID cases in India over the last four weeks. Arcturus, XBB.1.16 is fueling a new surge in many countries including US, Singapore, and Australia, among others. The newly discovered XBB 1.16 variant is related to Omicron. This is thought to be the cause of the rise in infections.

At the end of January, the Arcturus strain was confirmed for the first time. Following this, the World Health Organisation will continue to monitor the situation. Although Arcturus has been discovered in other countries, the majority of cases are from India. Officials explain that this variant has also been able to overtake other variants. However, no change has been found in the severity of the disease.

With 40,215 COVID-positive cases recorded across the country, the Centre has requested that states increase COVID testing. Drills are being organised by the health department to see if the country’s hospitals are prepared to face the new challenge. Face masks have been made mandatory in Kerala for the elderly, pregnant women, and those in poor health. This is the first time in a year that this has happened.

On Saturday, the number of new infections exceeded 6,155. To prevent the situation from getting out of control, the authorities are ready to strengthen surveillance measures.

The World Health Organisation has identified XBB.1.16, an Omicron sub-variant, as the source of the infection surge in India. Arcturus, also known as XBB.1.16, has a high infectivity and virulence potential.

On Friday, the number of daily cases reported in India surpassed 6,000 for the first time in 200 days. As a result, Health Minister Mansukh Mandviya has advised states to exercise caution, accelerate testing and vaccinations, and review their preparedness beginning on Saturday.

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