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Vietnam confirms first community cases of Omicron
Anh Kiet 18:57, 2022/01/19
The Omicron patients are now being quarantined and in stable health condition.

The Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Department of Health on January 19 reported three locally-transmitted Omicron cases, which are Vietnam’s first community-acquired infections of the new variant.

The three cases are all linked to another Covid-19 patient who has recently entered Vietnam on January 7 from the United States, the department said, adding that they were detected at a private clinic where they came for treating the runny nose and sore throat.

Their samples, which were sent for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and genome sequencing, were confirmed on January 18 afternoon as positive for the Omicron variant.

 The three patients are a 35-year-old from Binh Chanh District, a 31-year-old from District 11, and a 48-year-old from Go Vap District.

They are now being quarantined and in stable health condition. Local authorities have cordoned off the patients’ neighborhoods and taken samples of their close contacts.

 

 Vaccination is seen as the best method for Vietnam to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. Photo: Thai Son

Besides these three community-acquired Omicron infections, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has recorded 70 imported Omicron cases, including 30 in HCMC, 27 in Quang Nam, three in Danang, two each in Thanh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, and Quang Ninh, and one each in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Haiphong, and Long An.

The health ministry has repeatedly warned since late last year that the risk of Omicron spreading in Vietnam is high and once it happens, it could lead to an overwhelmed health care system because it is more contagious than the Delta variant.

The ministry is closely following the pandemic progression with regards to Omicron and is frequently in contact with the World Health Organization to get updates on the variant.

Keeping close monitor of returnees from abroad


The HCMC Center for Disease Control said that it has closely supervised quarantined people entering the country from abroad and performed genomic sequencing of positive Covid-19 test results to detect the Omicron variant of the virus.

Community rapid testing will be performed at residential areas with a surge in infections, and genomic sequencing of positive Covid-19 test results will be conducted to detect the Omicron variant in the community, the disease control center stressed.

The center added that all people with positive results at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM will be sent to No.12 Covid-19 makeshift hospital in Thu Duc City for quarantine and treatment.

As per the Vietnamese Government’s requirements, all incoming people into Vietnam will undergo rapid tests at airports, and those returning a positive Covid-19 test will have their sample undergo genomic sequencing.
Urgent response required against variant Omicron: Hanoi mayor

Amid the risk of the new variant Omicron emergence, Hanoi needs to prepare thoroughly for all scenarios and strengthen the measures to prevent the pandemic ahead of the new year holidays, said Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Chu Ngoc Anh at a meeting on January 19.

Medical workers analyze a new coronavirus infection sample at a laboratory in Hanoi. Photo: Thai Son

Ngoc Anh requested increased vigilance as the Covid-19 pandemic’s evolution continues to be severe, with the emergence of the new and more contagious Omicron variant in the country.

He asked the Hanoi Department of Health to instruct the healthcare system to strengthen surveillance in order to timely detect any abnormal signs of an outbreak and find out any new variant early.

The Hanoi mayor urged the public to follow Covid-19 prevention measures but without panicking or becoming overly anxious in the face of the Omicron variant.

He asked all districts and localities to halt unnecessary mass gatherings, entertainment activities, and festivals to ensure pandemic prevention during the incoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

"People should only go to places with large gatherings when it's absolutely essential, avoid parties and reduce the number of people in meetings, especially in the coming time," the mayor said.

All districts' authorities must boost examination and strictly deal with those who break anti-pandemic rules during the Tet holiday.

Especially, local authorities must closely monitor people returning from foreign countries, strengthen surveillance to detect Covid-19 cases of the new strain Omicron.

The latest infections lifted the Omicron cases in Vietnam to 108, including 68 in HCMC, 27 in Quang Nam, three in Danang, two each in Thanh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, and Quang Ninh, and one each in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Haiphong, and Long An.

Besides these three community-acquired Omicron infections, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has recorded 70 imported Omicron cases, including 30 in HCMC, 27 in Quang Nam, three in Danang, two each in Thanh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, and Quang Ninh, and one each in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Haiphong, and Long An.


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