Vietnam tightens control measures amid COVID-19 Omicron threats

VOV.VN - The Ministry of Health (MoH) has requested localities nationwide to enhance their vigilance and tighten COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the wake of the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the strain has yet to be detected locally.

In a telegram dispatched to all cities and provinces throughout the country, the MoH said the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve in a complicated manner across the globe, especially following the recent emergence of the Omicron variant, a mutated strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is widely believed to be potentially more transmissible than other COVID-19 strains, including the Delta variant.

First detected in South Africa in late November, the latest strain, known as B.1.1.529 has so far spread to more than 30 countries and territories worldwide. Three Southeast Asian nations, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, have also reported their first Omicron cases, thereby posing a high-risk of the strain spreading to Vietnam.

The MoH has requested that localities strictly follow COVID-19 prevention recommendations, including implementing the 5K message alongside vaccinations, medical treatment, the use of technology, and monitoring people’s behaviour.

Localities are required to develop various scenarios in order to respond to any developments relating to the outbreak, enhance the capacity of the grassroots-level heath system and bring into full play the role of mobile medical teams in the community.

The MoH has asked localities to strengthen supervision and management of people entering the country from abroad, especially those coming either to or from countries and regions that have recorded Omicron cases, such as those in Africa and several countries in Europe.

It is imperative to accelerate vaccinations across all localities, including booster jabs, with a particular focus on people in high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, said the MoH.

In an effort to prevent the Omicron variant from entering the country, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam recently proposed that Vietnam suspend international flights to and from 10 African countries where the new variant is raging. 

Ho Chi Minh City, which has borne the brunt of the current COVID-19 outbreak, is now tightening entry and quarantine requirements for any passengers entering the southern city from abroad.

The city will conduct genome sequencing for any incoming passengers diagnosed with the new variant. In addition, it will also establish a hospital aimed at receiving and treating people infected with the Omicron variant. 

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