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Hanoi promotes gene sequencing for detection of Covid-19 variants
Anh Kiet 18:31, 2022/08/24
The move is taken when the number of new Covid-19 infection cases has risen again in the capital city.

The Hanoi Department of Health has issued an official dispatch requesting the municipal Center for Disease Control (CDC Hanoi) and medical facilities to sequence genes for early detection and control of new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Accordingly, local health agencies have been asked to join medical facilities to monitor and collect SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic specimens and send them to Hanoi CDC for gene sequencing.

The move is taken at a time when the number of new Covid-19 infection cases has risen again in the capital city.

Particularly, Hanoi has detected several cases of Omicron BA.5 sub-variant. The city has documented 140-160 new cases a day on average, according to the municipal Health Department. Moreover, CDC Hanoi reported that the number of Covid-19 infections in the city has kept increasing sharply.

 At a research laboratory of the Central Military Hospital 108 in Hanoi. Photo: An Ngoc

Sharing with The Hanoi Times in a phone interview, Director of the Hanoi Department of Health Tran Thi Nhi Ha said that Thanh Nhan Hospital in Hai Ba Trung District has reported a rise of hospitalized Covid-19 patients over the last two weeks, from 4-5 to 20 cases per day. Many of them have already been injected with two or three doses of the vaccine. 

“Especially, Bach Mai Hospital has confirmed the first cases in Vietnam infected with Omicron BA.5 in the community. Given this situation, we have requested CDC Hanoi to intensify the guidance, inspection and supervision of infections; cooperate with local medical facilities to carry out major surveillance activities; and give professional guidance to local medical facilities on an oropharyngeal sampling of the cases with positive rapid antigen test results for the virus,” Ha said.

"In addition, some major public hospitals have been asked to join the Hanoi CDC and district-level medical centers to monitor the evolution of the pandemic and discover new variants of the novel coronavirus. Hospitals have been asked to prepare to receive and treat Covid-19 patients," the director stressed.

She noted that BA.4 and BA.5 are more contagious and that the vaccines that the Hanoi health sector is administering to local residents are effective in preventing these two sub-variants.

On July 5, the Health Ministry informed that Hanoi is among the localities with low rates of the second booster injections (4th dose) for people aged 18 and over, and of the third injection for children 12-17 years old - 15.7% and less than 5%, respectively.

Only when Covid-19 is no longer a pandemic will people's lives return to normal, Ha stressed, advising people to get booster shots and keep abiding by pandemic prevention protocols.

“We also requested districts to continue paying special attention to high-risk groups, pregnant women, and unvaccinated children. By all means, we must have a clear roadmap to turn Covid-19 into an ordinary disease with regular medical examination and treatment,” the director said.

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