The first coronavirus infection of the Omicron variant has been found in Hanoi, the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced on December 28.
The infected man, from the UK, landed at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport on December 19 and tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He was taken to the 108 Military Hospital soon after and is now quarantined and treated at the hospital.
He underwent a real-time RT-PCR test, with the result also returning positive. The hospital conducted genome sequencing on the patient on December 20 and 21 and confirmed that the man is infected with the Omicron, or B.1.1.529 variant, according to the health ministry.
The capital city has started imposing more stringent inspections on foreign arrivals, especially those coming from places where the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus has been detected.
A health worker collects coronavirus test samples from a passenger at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport. Photo: The Hanoi Department of Health
According to an Omicron response plan released on December 27 by the municipal government, all passengers arriving in the capital city on international flights must present evidence of a negative RT-PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival into the city.
Every arrival from places where Omicron has been detected must stay in centralized quarantine facilities, even if they are fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months.
Omicron was first sequenced in South Africa in late November and designated by the World Health Organization as a top variant of concern.
The risk of Omicron penetrating, then spreading in Vietnam is very high, the MoH warned, adding that the pandemic situation has grown more complex in many countries, especially with the appearance of the new mutant which has been detected in more than 100 countries and territories.
The MoH continues to closely monitor the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in general and the possibility of infection with the Omicron variant in particular.
The ministry recommends that people must follow the Covid-19 prevention and control measures and be fully vaccinated.
As of December 28, Vietnam had documented more than 1.6 million Covid-19 cases, with over 1.2 million recoveries and 31,418 fatalities.
Health workers have administered more than 146.3 million vaccine doses since vaccination was rolled out nationwide on March 8.