Two virus strains with a strong transmissible ability have been detected in Vietnam. New Covid-19 outbreaks have been reported in many localities within very short time periods, sometimes within two days.
Since April 27, Vietnam has recorded 501 locally-transmitted cases in 26 provinces and cities. The largest outbreaks have occurred in Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc, Da Nang, and Bac Giang, where the number of cases has increased sharply each day. This is the largest outbreak in the country so far.
Dr. Tran Dac Phu, Senior Advisor of the Center for Emergency Response to Public Health Events, said that the current outbreak is more complicated than previous ones.
The expert said that Vietnam is coping with the British and Indian variants, which spread rapidly and can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
Dr. Tran Dac Phu, Senior Advisor at the Center for Emergency Response to Public Health Events.
"The new strain spreads very quickly, causing outbreaks after only 1-2 days like the cases in Mao Dien commune in Thuan Thanh district, Bac Ninh province. Within just four days, this commune had 72 out of the 90 cases of infection in the whole province," Dr. Phu said.
During the ongoing wave of Covid-19, sites of transmission have occurred in hospitals, on planes, at bars, karaoke and massage parlors, wedding parties, and beer restaurants and festivals, which are all crowded, high-risk places.
Dr. Phu said that all of these places had been previously warned by the Ministry of Health about the risk of spreading the virus. If local authorities had taken preventive plans early, they would have successfully prevented the new outbreaks.
However, the senior expert said that the epidemic in Vietnam is still under control. Most of the sources of transmission have been identified. For example, in the North, all outbreaks are mainly related to the Hanoi-based National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
Medical workers take samples for Covid-19 test for people in the central city of Da Nang on May 6. Photo: Ho Giap
Professor Nguyen Quang Tuan, Director of the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, one of Vietnam’s largest hospitals, said that the new strain has a very fast pace of transmission.
"There are cases who have symptoms, with the virus concentration in the oropharynx large enough to test positive only 1-2 days after having contact with Covid-19 patients," said Professor Tuan.
The rate of complications in the lungs is also higher. In the northern province of Ha Nam, four out of seven patients had complications in the lungs in the first week, showing that the disease can progress very quickly.
“The fatality rate caused by the new variants is much higher than the old strains, so we must be very vigilant. Viruses that spread quickly make it much more difficult to prevent the epidemic, so the people must follow the 5K message,” said Professor Tuan.
The Ministry of Health has encouraged people to follow its 5K message in Vietnamese, namely Khau Trang (face mask), Khu khuan (Disinfection), Khoang cach (Distance). Khong tap trung (No gathering), and Khai bao y te (Health declaration).
Compared with neighboring countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, the rate of vaccination against Covid-19 in Vietnam is still low, accounting for only 0.86% of the population.
While negotiating with foreign vaccine providers, Vietnam will accelerate vaccine purchases to ensure that all people have access to Covid-19 vaccines.