COVID-19 outbreak eases as new variants come under scrutiny

VOV.VN - The COVID-19 pandemic has now passed its peak and is now showing initial signs of waning in Vietnam, according to local health professionals.

Official data from the Ministry of Health indicate that the disease is on a downward trajectory nationwide as the daily number of new infections has recorded a significant drop, falling from nearly 200,000 cases a month ago to approximately 50,000 at present. Daily COVID-19 related deaths have also plummeted considerably, going down from hundreds recorded several months ago to roughly 40 in recent days.

“The outbreak has been brought under control, and this is a good piece of news,” said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son.

According to the health official, major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have resumed economic, social, and entertainment services, demonstrating that they have gradually adapted themselves to the Government’s adopted strategy of living safely with the pandemic.

Sharing Son’s view, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Do Van Dung, dean of Public Health Faculty of Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University Hospital, pointed out that the COVID-19 outbreak has now passed its peak, with the number of infections seeing a sharp fall.

“The disease will stabilise and the number of cases will decrease dramatically in the next two months thanks to the gradual decline of natural immunity on the back of high vaccination coverage,” stated Dr. Dung.

Vietnam has so far administered more than 208 million doses of vaccines, in which 100% of people over 18 have been given their first dose, 99% have received their second dose, and 50% have been given their third shot. Approximately 99% of people aged 12 to 17 years have now received their first dose whilst 94% of people have had their second dose.

However, the health professional warned that the country may face a new wave of COVID-19 when new variants emerge in the coming months.

“The coming wave will drive up infections, but the number of deaths and severe cases will be lower than at present because, although immunity is reduced, people are still protected by vaccines,” said Dr. Dung.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Son said one of the Ministry’s key tasks over the coming months will be to combat new variants. Indeed, scientists have detected sublineages of the Omicron variant such as BA.1, BA.2, and XE, and they do not rule out the possibility that more sublineages could be tracked in the future.

The Ministry of Health is set to closely monitor mutated variants in order to timely deal with any new sublineages that enter the nation, said the Deputy Minister, adding that vaccination is an effective way in which to achieve herd immunity.

The health official also warned that although the disease is weakening and the XE sublineage has yet to be found in Vietnam, people must remain highly vigilant against the mutated virus. He recommended that people strictly abide by COVID-19 prevention and control measures outlined by the Ministry of Health to better protect themselves as well as the wider community.

Deputy Minister Son revealed that the country is poised to receive approximately seven million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11 donated by the Australian Government in April. He called for strong public support for the child inoculation campaign as a means of better protecting children from potential infection.