HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is working closely with World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) in its response to the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, according to health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long.
The health ministry on Tuesday held a meeting on the threats of the very concerning variant with WHO Representative in Việt Nam Kidong Park, CDC Southeast Asia Regional Director John MacArthur, and Director of CDC Việt Nam's Global Health Security Programme Matthew Moore.
Health minister Long said as of Tuesday morning, Việt Nam has not recorded any case of COVID-19 with the new variant.
The health ministry last week asked the Government to halt flights to and from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Mozambique, as well as suspend the issuance of visas for passengers coming from these countries.
The ministry has also asked to step up surveillance to promptly detect abnormal signs at COVID-19 outbreak clusters, and ordered the Pasteur institutes and the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology to perform genome sequencing on suspect cases with Omicron, especially ones with a history of travel to southern Africa.
WHO and CDC representatives all stressed the four important steps in dealing with Omicron, including enhancing testing and surveillance to detect the cases, speeding up vaccination, boosting the capacity of the medical system – especially at the grassroots level – to make them able to deal with growing outbreaks, and stepping up communication on COVID-19 prevention and control measures and making public the genetic sequences of COVID-19 cases for further analysis by researchers and experts.
At the meeting, leaders of the health ministry together with representatives of WHO, USCDC in Southeast Asia and the USCDC in Việt Nam agreed to be ready to share the results of the genetic sequencing of COVID-19 cases.
Minister Long said Việt Nam to date had administered 120 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and progress had been steady recently, especially with the rollout of vaccines for children aged 12-17 in more than 30 localities around the country.
He also urged the public to follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures but not to panic or become overly anxious in the face of the Omicron variant. — VNS
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