WHO Chief Representative: Omicron Subvariant XBB Detected in Vietnam
|Illustrative image. Source: VNA|
Covid-19 Omicron XBB variant and its offshoots have been found in more than 10 countries in the West Pacific, including Vietnam, said Chief Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Vietnam Dr. Angela Pratt.
VNA citied Pratt on January 6 warned that the fight against Covid-19 is not over yet as many people are getting infected, hospitalised, and dead in many countries around the world.
According to the WHO, over 500 different variants of SAR-CoV-2 have been recorded so far. Omicron is now the dominant variant of infection cases globally with many sub-variants. In particular, XBB sub-variant, discovered since October 2022, has so far spread in more than 70 countries.
Pratt said XBB is a recombination of Omicron’s two sub-variants. To date, XBB and its offshoots have been found in more than 10 countries in the West Pacific, including Vietnam, and will spread in the coming time. They prove more contagious than other sub-variants, which should be worrying, she said.
However, there has been not any evidence of a change in disease severity caused by XBB variant. Current diagnostic and protective measures remain potent, including Covid-19 vaccines approved by WHO.
Therefore, WHO still suggested wearing masks in high-risk places such as crowd and enclosed spaces and washing hands regularly. Adults and children should be fully vaccinated, including all booster shots recommended by health authorities, she said.
She added that though Covid-19 is still circulating in Vietnam, there are no signs showing that hospitals and medical stations are overloaded with cases.
|Chief Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Vietnam Dr. Angela Pratt.|
According to her, the Vietnamese Health Ministry is raising public awareness of Covid-19 preventive measures during the upcoming Lunar New Year festival, which, she said, is important to slow down the spread of the virus.
The ministry has directed relevant agencies to enhance supervision at border gates and medical stations, as well as accelerate genome sequencing to brace for any possible outbreak.
The HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases on January 4 said the Covid-19 Omicron XBB variant, first discovered in India in August, has been found in the southern metropolis.
The result came from the testing conducted by researchers of the hospital and the Oxford University Clinical Research, on 526 Covid-19 patients hospitalised between July 1 and December 25, 2022.
The Omicron sublineage, however, circulated at a low rate, making up only 5.7% of the genome decoded, the researchers said, noting that Omicron was the dominant variant in the city in the second half of 2022.
The group concluded that the pandemic is under control in the city, reflecting the efficiency of vaccines in the fight.
According to the Health Ministry, in the coming time, the situation of the Covid-19 will develop complicatedly, and sub-variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will constantly change.
The ministry on January 7 stated that through the infectious disease surveillance system, the appearance of XBB sub-variants has been recorded in Tay Ninh province and HCM City. However, the situation in Vietnam is basically under control, the morbidity and mortality rate from Covid-19 has decreased sharply.
However, in the near future, the pandemic will develop complicatedly. Variants, sub-variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are constantly changing; immunity from vaccination decreases with time. Along with the opening, easing of prevention and control policies of some countries in the region will lead to the risk of an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
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