Vietnam's first Omicron community cases had meal with US entrant

By Le Phuong   January 18, 2022 | 07:56 pm PT
Vietnam's first Omicron community cases had meal with US entrant
A health worker tests a sample for the novel coronavirus at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
Vietnam's first three Covid-19 community transmission cases with the Omicron variant had a meal with a relative who returned from the U.S., the HCMC health department said Wednesday.

Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health, said contact tracing efforts were conducted immediately after gene sequencing confirmed the Omicron cases in the community.

They revealed a 41-year-old Vietnamese woman, who flew from the U.S. and landed on Khanh Hoa's Cam Ranh Airport on January 7 on flight BN5409, had a meal with the three cases. The woman, who has received three Pfizer vaccine shots, was quarantined at a hotel in Nha Trang. On January 5, one day before she flew back to Vietnam, she tested negative for the coronavirus.

While staying in her hotel in Nha Trang, she tested negative again on January 9. On January 10, she flew from Nha Trang to HCMC on the VN1345 flight that landed at 4:30 p.m. She was received by the three relatives at the airport. The group ate at a restaurant before going home.

On January 13, the woman began to cough and had a sore throat. Her relatives also had similar symptoms on January 14, and their samples were sent for testing. The three relatives’ results returned positive on January 15, and the woman's on January 16. The relatives have been confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant.

Their conditions are so far stable, health authorities said.

Vietnam had recorded 70 Omicron variant cases among foreign arrivals earlier.

Global experts have not ascertained of the variant's virulence, though they said those infected with the variant are less likely to turn severe compared to those with the Delta variant.

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