|An elderly woman in central Đà Nẵng City is vaccinated against COVID-19. The Prime Minister has ordered localities to boost vaccination, particulalry for those in high-risk groups in the face of the new variant Omicron. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has requested all ministries, sectors, and localities to ramp up efforts against COVID-19 in the face of the new variant Omicron.
According to the PM’s official dispatch issued on Sunday, the COVID-19 pandemic remains highly unpredictable around the world amid the emergence of Omicron, which has been found to spread much faster than the Delta variant.
Though Việt Nam hasn’t yet seen any Omicron cases, the numbers of infections, patients in critical condition, and related deaths have still been on the rise, and the healthcare systems in some localities have become overloaded, it said.
Facing that fact and the high possibility of recording Omicron in the country, the PM asked the Ministry of Health to keep a close watch on the global pandemic situation to make timely guidelines, propose necessary and appropriate measures to the PM, and increase monitoring so as to detect any new variant early.
All ministries, sectors, and provincial-level People’s Committees have to step up the application of COVID-19 prevention and control measures, boost examination, and strictly deal with those who violate anti-pandemic rules.
The Government leader told the Health Ministry and provincial-level administrations to organise as safe and fast as possible vaccination and ensure that no persons subject to vaccination are left without full inoculation, especially those in high-risk groups.
They were also requested to increase training in home treatment to avoid overloading higher-lever hospitals and enhance the capacity of the healthcare system at all levels.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Communications was demanded to promptly complete IT tools and work with relevant sides to conduct uniform and effective application. This ministry also needs to coordinate with the Party Central Committee’s Information and Education Commission to step up communication to raise public awareness of the pandemic, Omicron, and prevention measures, according to the dispatch.
In a move to prevent Omicron, the Ministry of Health has also asked local administrations, Pasteur institutes, and the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology to enhance surveillance for the Omicron variant.
All arrivals into the country from November 28, 2021, who have tested positive for coronavirus through the RT-PCR method or NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) within 14 days of entry, will have their samples taken for genomic sequencing.
If the Omicron variant is detected, all close contacts of the infected will also be tested and all positive samples will be further analysed as well.
Health authorities must strengthen the surveillance system for cases with unusual developments and characteristics and collect samples for screening and identification, to identify any Omicron transmissions.
According to the Ministry of Health, the Omicron variant has appeared on four continents. At least 77 countries and territories have confirmed cases of Omicron.
According to the World Health Organisation, Omicron is worrisome because it increases the chance of reinfection, it can evade immune systems, and it spreads 3.2 times faster than the Delta strain. However, there is no evidence that the Omicron variant reduces the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, nor is there evidence of increased morbidity and mortality. — VNS