Low risks of community transmission from Vietnam's first Omicron case

The risk of community transmission of the new variant from the Vietnam's first Omicron case detected on Tuesday remains low, according to Professor Phan Trong Lan, director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health.

Low risks of community transmission from Vietnam's first Omicron case  ảnh 1 The quarantine area where the first Covid-19 patient with Omicron variant in Vietnam is being treated at the Military Central Hospital 108. — Photo courtesy of the hospital
The Omicron patient, whose name has been given as K.V.H.M., arrived from the UK on a Bamboo Airways flight into Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on December 19.
After a rapid Covid-19 test on arrival returned a positive result, the Omicron patient was immediately quarantined and transferred in a specialised vehicle to the Military Central Hospital 108 in the capital city. He has had no contact with the public.
At present, the Omicron patient is quarantined in a separate room and is being treated in accordance with the health ministry's instructions. He is asymptomatic, in a stable condition and is thought to be at low risk of any complications. 
All 165 people on the same flight have been quarantined strictly based on regulations.
Most of them are from Hanoi and three other localities. The health ministry has sent letters to the localities to ensure proper management of them.
“This is an imported case and the virus cannot be transmitted to the community,” Professor Lan said.
Lan said that Vietnam had deployed a surveillance system for unusual Covid-19 cases and cases of flu that spread rapidly or cause severe sickness. All samples will be sent to Pasteur Institutes or the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology for gene sequencing to detect any more cases of the Omicron variant.
The health ministry previously ordered that all foreign arrivals infected with Covid-19 have their samples submitted for genomic sequencing.
Associate Professor Le Huu Song, deputy director of Hospital 108, said that although this is the first confirmed Omicron patient in Vietnam , he thinks others in the community may already be infected with the variant.
“As we know, the world’s statistics show that Omicron has a relatively high infection rate, but the symptoms are very mild. The clinical trajectory is almost no problem, so we should not be too worried,” said Song.
The appearance of Omicron, or other variants that may appear in the future, is a natural evolution of the virus. The virus will adapt to new conditions and no longer pose a danger to those infected.
The body's immune system will also gradually adapt until Covid-19 becomes something similar to the common flu virus, said Song.
“In the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, we still need to comply with measures recommended by the Government and the health ministry. This did not change with the presence or absence of the Omicron variant,” said Song.

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