|A field hospital for treating COVID-19 patients in HCM City. The city plans to trial a halving of the quarantine period to seven days for mild cases. — VNA/VNS Photo Đan Phương|
HCM CITY — HCM City People’s Committee has announced emergency plans to cope with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 now found in dozens of countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron is an enormously worrying variant because of its rapid transmission reported in South Africa.
It is not yet clear whether it is more transmissible than other variants like Delta, but the likelihood of potential further spread of this new COVID-19 variant at the global level is high.
The city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has announced eight measures to cope with the new strain.
Firstly, it plans to strengthen medical supervision and quarantine at airports and maritime points of entry into the country.
Secondly, medical supervision will be tightened in residential areas, factories and businesses for early detection of cases.
Thirdly, testing and surveillance will be enhanced to detect Omicron infection at the earliest possible time.
Fourthly, information about the global spread of Omicron will be updated to enable proper risk assessment and prepare appropriate prevention and intervention measures, especially communication.
Fifthly, localities will prepare to fully and promptly give booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines based on the Ministry of Health’s guidance.
Sixthly, quarantining will be co-ordinated at the city, district, commune, and ward levels to respond flexibly to possible outbreaks caused by the new strain.
Seventhly, the city will continue to deploy mobile medical stations and medical teams to care for patients being treated at home.
Lastly, a plan to set up field hospitals and other facilities for treatment at the district level whenever needed will be made.
Seven-day quarantine for mild COVID-19 cases
The Ministry of Health has given permission to the HCM City Department of Health to trial a reduction in quarantine from 14 days to seven for COVID-19-infected people with mild or no symptoms who have received two doses of a vaccine and test negative on the seventh day.
The patients need to continue monitoring their health status at home and strictly follow pandemic prevention instructions after the quarantine period.
The city’s move is aimed at reducing overcrowding at quarantine facilities amid a rise in new cases despite the high vaccination rates in the country’s COVID epicentre.
According to the department, the city is still at level 2, or medium risk of pandemic, in the Government’s four-level risk scale.
The number of daily new cases in the city continues to increase, especially in Thủ Đức city and the outlying districts of 12, Bình Chánh, Hóc Môn, and Bình Tân. — VNS