Health Ministry warns of risks of Covid-19 outbreaks

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has warned of the potential risk of Covid-19 outbreaks due to the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

According to the ministry, the Covid-19 pandemic has been still under control when the daily number of new cases stands at double digits. For two consecutive weeks, Vietnam has not recorded Covid-19-related fatalities. Among the severe patients being treated, there is no case requiring mechanical ventilation.

Regarding the XBB.1.5 sub-variant of Omicron recently discovered in the US, the ministry said documents from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that the XBB.1.5 sub-variant was the cause behind the increase of Covid-19 infections in the US. This sub-variant has been detected in Europe, Australia, and parts of Southeast Asia.

Angela Pratt, Chief Representative of WHO in Vietnam, said current diagnostic and protective measures remain in place, including WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines, she said.

The MoH requested localities to enhance surveillance at border gates, public areas, and medical establishments to swiftly detect and timely handle suspected cases, especially those entering from areas that record Covid-19 outbreaks and the appearance of new variants.

Localities and medical facilities have also been required to coordinate with hygiene and epidemiology institutes, and hospitals that have the ability to identify new variants to take samples for testing and research, thus assessing risks.

Specialized units have been asked to regularly assess and analyze the situation and risk factors, thus proactively developing scenarios and response plans for all possible situations.

Vice Director of the MoH’s Preventive Medicine Department Nguyen Luong Tam on January 15 inspected the Covid-19 pandemic at Lao Cai international border gate in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.

The provincial Department of Health was demanded to strictly implement directives of the MoH, and soon give advice to the provincial People's Committee on approving the plan for Covid-19 prevention and control in 2023, and enhancing communication activities at border gates to raise awareness of pandemic prevention among people and tourists.

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