Health ministry warns of high community infection risk driven by Omicron

By Le Nga   January 6, 2022 | 03:43 am PT
Health ministry warns of high community infection risk driven by Omicron
Passengers from HCMC land in Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
The Health Ministry has raised alarms regarding possible Covid risks posed by entrants carrying the Omicron variant, which may trigger community outbreaks.

In a document sent to local authorities Wednesday, the Ministry of Health stated 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 time, 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 future. Cases may rise quickly in 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 be found.

Vietnam confirmed its first Omicron infection Tuesday, a person arriving in Hanoi from the U.K. on Dec. 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 it causes less severe disease, experts said.

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