Monday , October 2 2023

Health ministry warns of high community infection risks driven by Omicron

The Health Ministry has raised alarms regarding possible Covid risks posed by entrants with the Omicron variant, which may trigger community outbreaks.

In a document sent to local authorities on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health said the trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic remains hard to predict due to the Omicron variant. Vietnam has recorded 25 cases infected with the variant, all detected among entrants, it added.

“In the coming times, the risks of detecting entrants infected with the Omicron variant and community outbreaks are very high,” the ministry warned.

Health minister Nguyen Thanh Long on Wednesday said the Covid-19 pandemic might not be put under complete control within 2022, and more dangerous variants may show up in the future. Cases may rise quickly in the future despite vaccination, and while cases with the Omicron variant may be less likely to turn severe, the high number of cases may still overwhelm the medical system and lead to more deaths, he warned.

As such, the ministry has requested localities to prepare their Covid-19 responses and ramp up medical capabilities and resources. They must also monitor entrants vigorously and perform contact tracing should an infection is found.

Vietnam confirmed its first Omicron infection on Dec. 28, 2021, a person arriving in Hanoi from the U.K. on December 19.

Omicron’s rapid replication in the airway may explain why it transmits faster than previous variants of the virus, but lower infection in the lungs may indicate that it causes less severe disease, experts said.

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