Highly-infectious BA.2.74 Omicron sub-variant detected in Vietnam: MoH hinh anh 1A medical worker takes care of COVID-19 patients at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has detected several new, highly-contagious Omicron sub-variants, including BA.2.74, said the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health (MoH) on August 17.

The Department of Preventive Medicine also corrected its report released on August 15, which mistakenly mentioned BA.2.75 among sub-variants circulating in Vietnam. It is BA.2.74, not BA.2.75, it said in the latest statement, adding that the first case of BA.2.74 was reported at the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital on August 8.

Other Omicron sub-variants found in the country are BA.4, BA.5, and BA.2.12.1, according to the Department of Preventive Medicine.

The Department of Preventive Medicine has warned of a spike in new COVID-19 infections and critical cases. Over the past week, Vietnam has recorded an average of 2,000 new COVID-19 cases daily. More than 100 seriously ill COVID-19 patients are being treated at hospitals.

The increase will cause overload for the health system, particularly in the context of the outbreak of other diseases such as dengue fever, influenza A and hand-foot-mouth, according to the department.

Also, there is a high risk for newly emerging infectious diseases such as monkeypox and chronic liver problems entering Vietnam.

As the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron have appeared in many southern localities while the new academic year will start soon, the ministry is urging localities to continue to speed up vaccinations, particularly booster doses for the adult population and the second dose for children between five and under 12 years old.

The Department of Preventive Medicine said it would continue closely watching the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and regularly evaluate and analyse the situation to build plans and scenarios to respond to any outbreak promptly.

Therefore, to actively prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, the department told leaders of health departments nationwide to regularly and promptly review and report new cases of COVID-19.

The Department of Preventive Medicine asked local health departments to update the number of new COVID-19 cases daily so health authorities have sufficient data to assess the pandemic situation accurately. 

The localities must comply with regulations on reporting new cases and fully declare new cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours, as prescribed by the Ministry of Health, so that the figures can be sent to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the Prime Minister.

The Department of Preventive Medicine said the localities should avoid reporting additional numbers of new COVID-19 cases that could lead to an inaccurate reflection of the pandemic and cause difficulties for forecasting.

The northern port city of Hai Phong has registered 402,830 new cases of COVID-19 that had not been previously reported. In addition, the northern province of Thai Nguyen registered an additional 152,485 new cases and the central province of Nghe An has registered an additional 4,400 new cases.

The Department of Preventive Medicine said that residents must continue to declare and obtain patient codes on the ministry's automatic code-granting system after the test results show patients are positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Localities need to regularly assess risk levels to promptly adjust measures to prevent and control the pandemic according to Resolution 128/NQ-CP; strengthen surveillance, early detection and treatment of new COVID-19 cases to limit severe cases and deaths.

Data from the Ministry of Health showed that Vietnam confirmed 11,370,462 cases of COVID-19 as of August 16, ranking 12th out of 227 countries and territories since the pandemic's beginning.

The total number of recoveries rose to over 10 million. On August 16, there were 99 patients needing breathing support.

The country has so far administered more than 252 million COVID-19 vaccines./.