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Ho Chi Minh City Plans Strategies To Deal With Omicron Variant, Prepares To Reopen Schools

Ho Chi Minh City authorities discuss Omicron variant

For the past couple of weeks, Ho Chi Minh City has seen a four-digit upsurge in daily Covid-19 cases, and some makeshift Covid-19 hospitals are being filled to the brim with patients, according to Tuổi Trẻ.

As both authorities and citizens were finding ways to embrace a normal lifestyle with minimal Covid-19 curbs in place, a new variant called Omicron has emerged and sparked fresh anxieties.

In a 29th November Covid-19 briefing, Ho Chi Minh City authorities addressed local press on its plans to deal with the new variant that is sending shockwaves around the world.

Local authorities are planning strategies to deal with the Omicron variant

Mr Phạm Đức Hải at the Ho Chi Minh City Media Center
Image credit: Tuổi Trẻ

At the briefing, Mr Phạm Đức Hải, one of the principal overseers of the Covid-19 situation in Ho Chi Minh City, pointed out that daily infections and death tolls are still high, Tuổi Trẻ reported.

The number of admitted patients is always higher than that of those discharged daily, he said. Plus, the recent emergence of Omicron, a new Covid-19 variant detected in Botswana on 9th November, is posing potential threats to everyone’s health.

In response to the new strain, Mr Phạm revealed that the city is beefing up its existing medical facilities, building new makeshift Covid-19 hospitals, and enhancing the coordination between Western and traditional medical treatment providers to prepare for any emergencies.

However, Mr Phạm also remarked that medical authorities “don’t have much information about the Omicron variant.” 

He acknowledged, “The World Health Organization has yet to publish any official research or conclusions on whether the Omicron variant is more transmissible than other Covid-19 mutations.”

Image credit: Báo Chính Phủ

To strengthen the city’s response to Covid-19 emergencies, local authorities are closely monitoring Omicron and will keep everyone posted if new reports of this variant come up.

With that having said, Covid-19, regardless of its mutations, can spread through breathing and talking, so everyone should mask up at all times to prevent infections and refrain from gathering these days.

Ho Chi Minh City braces for the reopening of schools

A student getting vaccinated
Image credit:
Tuổi Trẻ

In a news conference with the Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee on 19th November, local education authorities proposed for students to return to school on 10th December after roughly seven months of online learning.

Physical learning will apply to 9th graders and 12th graders first, and will expand to students from other grades, Tuổi Trẻ reported. Schools’ management boards will need to lay out detailed strategies on how to deal with the emergence of infections in their establishments.

As of 29th November, a majority of students in all inner districts of HCMC have been fully vaccinated.

As concerning as Omicron is, there’s no need for panicking

While the Omicron variant has been found in multiple parts of the world and sparked concerns among disease scientists, it shouldn’t be treated with fear and chaos. We don’t know whether this strain is more deadly than the super-spreader Delta variant, so we can’t jump to conclusions about it and respond impulsively.

For the time being, let’s just comply with existing safety rules such as masking up and refraining from gatherings in order to lower our risks of getting infected.

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Cover image adapted from: Báo Chính Phủ

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