India has reported 21 cases of the Covid-19 variant JN.1 till now, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul said on Wednesday, reported PTI.

Nineteen of the cases were reported from Goa, and one each from Kerala and Maharashtra, the news agency quoted official sources as saying.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday categorised the JN.1 coronavirus strain as a variant of interest. The global health body designates a variant as one of interest when it leads to increased infections, or when it changes characteristics such as transmissibility or severity of disease.

India on Wednesday registered 614 new Covid-19 cases – the highest since May 21. The country presently has 2,311 active cases, according to the Union health ministry.

However, Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant said in a briefing to Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya that 92.8% of the patients are in home isolation, indicating that the illness is mild.

“No increase in hospitalisation rates have been witnessed due to Covid-19, the cases that are hospitalised are due to other medical conditions – Covid-19 is an incidental finding,” a government press release said. “A rise in daily positivity rate has been observed in a few states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Karnataka.”

Mandaviya on Wednesday held a meeting with state health ministers and senior officials to review the preparedness of authorities to tackle respiratory illnesses, including Covid-19.

“We have to work together to deal with any challenge,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter. The minister added that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is always ready to cooperate with states and Union Territories.