India reported 157 Covid-19 cases of the JN.1 variant between December 8, when the virus strain was first detected, and December 28, PTI reported citing data from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium updated on Thursday.

The new variant has been detected in at least nine states and Union territories.

The first case of the JN.1 coronavirus variant in India was detected in the Karakulam area of Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district. At 78, Kerala has recorded the highest number of cases linked to the strain, followed by Gujarat with 34 cases, according to data from the Genomics Consortium.

At least 18 cases of JN.1 variant have been reported from Goa, seven in Maharashtra, five in Rajasthan, four in Tamil Nadu and two in Telangana.

Delhi also reported its first case of the new coronavirus variant on Thursday.

The World Health Organization has classified the JN.1 coronavirus strain as a “variant of interest”. But the organisation has said that the risk to public health from the strain, going by available evidence, appears to be low.

However, the global health body has also said that with the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere, the variant, along with other viral and bacterial infections, could increase the number of respiratory infections in many countries.

The number of Covid-19 cases being reported on a daily basis had significantly dropped. But since the emergence of the new variant in early December and the onset of winter, the cases have seen a spike.

On December 18, the Centre had asked state governments to monitor and report influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory illnesses amid the surge.