On Tuesday, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed the local spread of the Omicron variant in Ho Chi Minh City, just days after the total cases in the country hit the two million mark.
According to the MoH, the three patients who tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend were later confirmed to have the Omicron variant. New information from the ministry indicates the three had a meal with a relative who returned from the US. After detecting genetic abnormalities in the initial samples, HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases examined it further for gene sequencing. Eventually confirming they were infected with the BA.1 sub-lineage of the Omicron variant.
The three patients — a 35-year-old from Binh Chanh District, a 31-year-old from District 11 and a 48-year-old from Go Vap District — are so far in stable condition, MoH said.
Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Health, said they’ve immediately implemented contact tracing after they confirmed the variant.
Vietnam has so far recorded 70 Omicron cases, all from foreign arrivals who were quarantined at least three days upon entry. Thirty of the cases reported were detected in HCMC.
The MoH had previously warned the public of the highly transmissible variant spreading in the country. "The community needs to raise their vigilance against Omicron, not gathering at crowded places and getting fully vaccinated," the ministry said in a statement last week.
As of latest, 16,838 new cases were added to the national patient tally. More than 74% of Vietnam’s population of 98 million has received at least two vaccine shots. In HCMC, authorities pledged that all adults get booster shots before the end of March.