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China guards against new variant of COVID-19

China is taking proactive measures to counter new COVID-19 cases caused by the JN.1 variant of the virus, which is spreading globally, China’s health authority said Thursday, reports Xinhua.

“China is routinely monitoring COVID-19 infections to determine the trend of infection spread and virus mutation,” said Li Zhengmao, an official with the national administration of disease prevention and control, Xinhua news agency reports.

Li noted that COVID-19 infections in China are at a low level at present. The number of infections related to the JN.1 variant is relatively small, added Li.

The variant exhibits increased immune escape and spreading capability but does not appear more pathogenic, said Li, adding that current vaccines targeting the XBB variants are still effective against the new variant.

Disease control and prevention authorities in China will continue to enhance the monitoring and early warning of COVID-19 infections. In the meantime, they will advance vaccination among key groups including seniors and patients with underlying health conditions, and ramp up medical preparation against possible waves of infection, especially in rural areas, said Li.