A health worker takes samples for Covid-19 testing
Speaking at a Friday meeting with the city people's committee, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Health Vu Cao Cuong said that three local people had been found infected with the sub-variant BA.5 of Omicron at Bach Mai Hospital.
“Three cases of BA.5 of Omicron infection have mild symptoms or no symptoms,” Cuong said. “But this strain has been found to be spreading faster than other circulating variants such as BA.1 and BA.2.”
The official reported that Hanoi currently confirmed an average of 180 Covid-19 cases a day, much lower than a few months ago. Now, the city has more than 1.60 million cases of Covid-19.
“We’re speeding up Covid-19 vaccination with third and fourth doses while many people are reluctant to get them,” he added.
According to Prof. Dr. Phan Trong Lan, Director of the Health Ministry's Department of Preventive Medicine, the BA.5 sub-strain may overwhelm the old sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2) in the country in the coming time.
“The intrusion is inevitable because the sub-variant has been seen in countries in Europe and the US and travel activities among countries have been allowed,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Health will continue to monitor pandemic developments.
The number of Covid-19 cases has been falling with a very low ratio of infections and deaths. Patients mostly suffered Omicron's sub-variant BA.2 with mild symptoms. The majority of the cases were recorded in the northern region with about 107,000 in the last two months.
Prof. Lan attributed the results to a high vaccination ratio and effective activities to protect high-risk groups.
He said initial research showed the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 spread faster than BA1 and BA.2. There is no specific evidence of the new sub-variants' virulence, but some studies have indicated that there is an aggravation in the African region.
The World Health Organisation has warned that due to the new variants of SARS-CoV-2, countries need to maintain measures such as vaccination and monitoring.
The Health Ministry called on people, especially those at high risk of infection, to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
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