Vietnam detects first case of Omicron variant

At noon on December 28, Vietnamese Ministry of Health officially informed that the first case of COVID-19 infected with the Omicron variant in Vietnam was an entry from the UK.

The first case of COVID-19 infected with the Omicron variant in Vietnam was an entry from the UK

According to information from Vietnam’s infectious disease surveillance system and preliminary report of 108 Military Central Hospital (Vietnam-Germany Medical Research Center), the Ministry of Health informed about the first case of infection with Omicron variant in Vietnam, specifically as follows: On December 19, 2021, 108 Military Central Hospital received 01 case of a passenger on flight QH9028 from the UK to Vietnam. Upon arrival at Noi Bai airport (on the evening of December 19, 2021), the passenger had a positive rapid test result for SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The first case of COVID-19 infected with the Omicron variant in Vietnam was an entry from the UK

The passenger was transported by special vehicles from the airport to the isolation area for COVID-19 cases at 108 Military Central Hospital and quarantined in a separate room at the accommodation area. The Department of Molecular Biology of the Hospital performed a test for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR method with positive results.

With the epidemiological factor of the patient being a passenger returning from the UK, on ​​December 20, 2021, the Hospital conducted sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genome infected on this patient by a new generation sequencing method using Oxford Nanopore (ONT) technology, the result is suspected Omicron mutant infection.

However, because the Omicron strain contains up to 36 mutations in the protein spike, including some point mutations, deletion mutations in this sequencing time are still unclear.

Therefore, on December 21, 2021, the hospital continued to take samples and re-sequencing the patients. The results of the hospital’s gene sequencing showed that the patient was infected with the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529).

The Ministry of Health continues to closely monitor the situation of the COVID-19 epidemic in general and the possibility of infection with Omicron strains in particular. The Ministry of Health recommends that people comply with COVID-19 prevention and control measures and fully vaccinate.

Actively monitor new variants/variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Vietnam

Regarding the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health has recently issued many directives on guiding the surveillance and prevention of COVID-19 Omicron variant.

In an urgent document sent to the People’s Committees of provinces, cities and the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Pasteur Institute on guidance on surveillance and prevention of the latest Omicron variant COVID-19, the Ministry of Health said, from October 2020 up to now, the world has continuously recorded new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These variants are classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) into different groups such as: VOI-Variants of Interest, VOC-Variant of Concern.

In order to proactively monitor and detect cases of Omicron mutation and implement timely prevention measures, the Ministry of Health (Standing Agency of the National Steering Committee) proposed that the People’s Committees of provinces and cities direct the departments, sectors, mass organizations, political and social organizations to review all imported cases from November 28, 2021 with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results by NAAT method (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test), PCR within 14 days (from the date of entry), coordinate with the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Pasteur Institute to assess epidemiology, take samples for testing and send to the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology/Pasteur to perform a gene sequencing test to identify the Omicron variant.

In case a person is positive for the Omicron variant, continue to review and take test samples of those who have been in close contact and have previous positive test results for SARS-CoV-2, and send it to the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology. Epidemiology/Pasteur testing, gene sequencing to identify Omicron strains.

Strengthen the surveillance system for cases with unusual developments and characteristics (number of cases, severe course or hospitalization, abnormal increase in mortality over time, geographical area, specific subjects…), on that facility actively cooperates with the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology/Pasteur to collect samples for surveillance, research and detect new variants/variants, and to detect outbreaks and clusters of cases early.

At the same time, localities should immediately organize the injection of the allocated amount of vaccine to increase the coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine, in which attention should be paid to those who have not or have not received enough doses in their localities. In addition, it is necessary to administer additional and enhanced doses of vaccine to at-risk subjects according to the guidance of the Ministry of Health.

For the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Pasteur Institute, the Ministry of Health requested to organize training for officials involved in the investigation and handling of outbreaks, COVID-19 testing facilities under the provincial Departments of Health, city ​​to investigate, preserve and transport samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 to the Institute.

Receipt of samples suspected to be at risk of Omicron variant from provinces and cities for genetic sequencing testing to identify Omicron variant. Implement and coordinate with localities to actively monitor new variants/variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Vietnam.

Credit: Health & Life Newspaper – the official mouthpiece of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health


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