HCM CITY – Two more people have been found infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in HCM City, taking the total number of cases in the community to five so far.
All are linked to a woman who arrived in Khánh Hòa Province from the US on January 7, quarantined in Nha Trang City and flew to HCM City on January 10.
The woman, a Vietnamese national, had received three vaccine shots in the US and tested negative before flying.
But on January 19 the first three Omicron cases were found in HCM City, all her relatives who had eaten dinner with her at a restaurant on her arrival.
Then authorities announced two more cases on January 24.
One is a Bình Thạnh District resident and cousin of one of the three Omicron patients, who lives in District 11.
He works as a security guard at the US woman’s place of residence, and received two shots of a vaccine.
The second of the patients, who received three shots, lives with the Omicron patient in District 11 and is a doctor at a hospital emergency department.
The US woman was finally found to be positive on January 24.
After detecting the new cluster the city has been urgently carrying out contact tracing and testing.
During the weekend 11 people were found to have been in close contact with the three Omicron patients, including the two latest patients.
The department said identifying the cluster as being linked to the US woman is a positive sign since otherwise contact tracing would be more difficult.
Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh Châu, its deputy director, said all the new cases were found after the patients showed symptoms and went for testing.
"If a patient has no symptoms or only slight symptoms, they may not go for testing or know they have COVID, and the disease will silently spread in the community."
HCM City has 71 Omicron cases, with all the others being imported.
Its healthcare sector is well prepared to respond to the disease and has called on the public to remain calm and not panic.
Everyone entering Việt Nam needs to undergo a rapid test at the airport.
Those testing positive are sent to No.12 COVID-19 field hospital in Thủ Đức City for treatment and isolation.
The city is also monitoring people at risk and performing genomic sequencing, and boosting vaccines.
Bình Dương Province recorded its first Omicron case on January 23, a woman who flew in from Canada on January 9.
She tested positive on January 11 and was treated. She has been discharged for self-monitoring at home. – VNS
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