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HCM City moves to cope with Omicron variant as Tet nearing

Concerned about the Omicron variant, Ho Chi Minh City is boosting actions to keep COVID-19 under control as the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, the biggest traditional festival in Vietnam, is nearing.

To enter Vietnam, people currently have to show a negative RT-PCR test result for SARS-CoV-2 within 72 hours prior to their arrival, along with a negative rapid test result before and after their flights.

Besides this, the city’s centre for disease control (HCDC) will conduct screening tests in the areas having many people from aboard or recording a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, and push ahead with other measures instructed by the Ministry of Health, HCDC Deputy Director Nguyen Hong Tam told a meeting on January 17.

Though the pandemic is being put under control in HCM City, people returning to the city after Tet, which falls in the first week of February, still need to comply with the 5K principle (khau trang - wearing face masks, khu khuan - disinfection, khai bao - making health declaration, khoang cach - keeping physical distance, khong tu tap - no gathering).

Only those with symptoms or suspected factors will undergo testing and quarantine when coming back to the city, Tam said.

Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, Chief of the Office of the municipal Health Department, said as the Omicron variant poses a risk of COVID-19 resurgence, the department has asked local hospitals to ready personnel for anti-pandemic activities within 24 hours once it reactivates temporary hospitals for COVID-19 treatment.

The city is providing treatment for 3,631 patients at present, including 75 under 16. Among them, 270 require mechanical ventilation and 17 others need life support (ECMO).

The daily numbers of hospitalised cases and fatalities have been dropping gradually, from 275 cases and 19 deaths on January 12 to 123 cases and 12 deaths on January 16, according to the HCM City steering committee for COVID-19 fight and economic recovery./.