|HCM City is speeding up second shots of COVID-19 vaccines, including for people aged 12-17 years. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ|
HCM CITY— HCM City is prepared to cope with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 first detected by South Africa, Phạm Đức Hải, deputy head of the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control told a press meeting on November 29.
Without going into details, he said the city had strengthened co-operation between public and private medical establishments and between traditional and western medicine systems, and got military medical personnel to help mobile medical stations treat patients at home.
It had instructed hospitals to send doctors and nurses to health centres in communes, wards and towns to help treat COVID patients, he said.
People should not be too worried about the new variant, but strictly comply with preventive measures like wearing masks, disinfecting hands regularly, avoiding congregations, and keeping a safe distance to reduce the risk of infection, he said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants like Delta.
"The number of people testing positive has risen in South Africa, but epidemiological studies are underway to understand if it is because of Omicron or other factors," WHO says.
Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of the new variant.
Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of the city Department of Health Office, said there was no shortage of beds for COVID patients and that her agency was seeking to provide better care including for people being treated at home to reduce mortality.
It has called on the Ministry of Health to provide a booster vaccine shot to people in the city, she said, adding, “We expect to get the Ministry of Health’s instructions on the booster shot soon.”
Relevant agencies are seeking to speed up the second shot, including for most young people aged 12-17, she added.
WHO has said that vaccines remain critical to reducing severe symptoms and death, including against the dominant variant now, Delta.
The city has treated 14,580 patients as of November 28, including 574 children under 16, 374 severely ill patients requiring ventilators and 14 needing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
The city’s risk designation remains medium.
Districts 1,6,7,8,11, Tân Bình, Bình Chánh, Củ Chi, and Cần Giờ are at low risk, and the remaining 11 districts and Thủ Đức City are at medium risk. VNS