MoH warns of high risk of spreading Omicron in the community

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A medical worker examines a man before giving the booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the Mekong Delta province of Vĩnh Long.— VNA/VNS Photo Thuý Hằng

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has warned that there is a high risk of spreading the Omicron variant among the community.

According to the ministry, Việt Nam has recorded imported cases of COVID-19 infected with the Omicron variant in all three regions of the north, central and south. All the cases were quarantined after entry.

The ministry has required the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and heads of the People’s Committees at the province and city level to strengthen measures to proactively control the pandemic as the Omicron strain is believed to spread quickly.

All provinces and cities are told to strictly follow instructions of the ministry to prevent the spread of Omicron; actively build scenarios to respond to the pandemic’s developments; improve the capacity of the local healthcare system; prepare enough medicines and medical supplies as well as promote the role of the community-based COVID-19 prevention teams.

Provinces and cities must ensure COVID-19 patients can reach medical facilities or get treatment drugs.

The ministry has also ordered provinces and cities to tighten supervision of people entering the country from abroad, enhance surveillance in the community to detect suspected cases of Omicron and prevent the spread of the variant into the community.

The provinces and cities have to coordinate with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Pasteur institutes to conduct tests and gene sequencing for suspected cases of Omicron.

Moreover, the ministry says that when detecting a case of COVID-19, especially the Omicron variant, the provinces and cities have to conduct an epidemiological investigation and notify relevant localities for quick coordination in tracing contacts.

All people in contact with the patients must be quarantined and tested quickly, the ministry said.

Speeding up vaccination

In a related move, the ministry reminded the provinces and cities to speed up vaccinations against COVID-19 for those aged 12 years old and over as well as fully vaccinate people aged 50 years old and over and people with underlying diseases.

Additionally, provinces and cities must deploy the booster shots for people under the ministry’s instructions.

In the Government’s report to the National Assembly on January 4, the Government sets the target to complete the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines for people aged 12-18 years old this month, and the booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 19 and over in the first quarter of this year. Besides, it will have a plan to vaccinate children from 5 to 11 years old following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

The ministry told provinces and cities to issue flexible treatment plans to treat COVID-19 patients to minimise severe and fatal cases.

“Minimising fatal cases of COVID-19 is among the top priorities,” the ministry said. — VNS

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