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Thursday, June 13, 2024

HCMC faces risk of fifth Covid wave

By Minh Thao

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HCMC – The spike in new Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, and the spread of BA.5 Omicron subvariant are posing the risk of another coronavirus wave, said a leader of the HCMC Health Department.

New daily Covid cases are rising. The city last week recorded an average of 160 new cases a day, up 20 over the previous week, said Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the HCMC Health Department, adding hospitalizations had also increased, at 74 cases a day.

The city has detected no BA2.74 Omicron subvariant case but BA.5 has become a dominant strain. The transmission rate of the BA.5 subvariant outstripped other variants of the virus, namely BA.1 and BA.2, leaving the city at risk of another outbreak, Chau said.

BA.5 is reportedly 12% more transmissible than BA.2 and is forecast to spread in the community in the time ahead, leading new infections, hospitalizations, and severe cases to soar.

Given the current circumstance, the Health Department has prepared scenarios in case the pandemic swings back again.

Field Hospital No. 13, which has 1,000 beds for Covid-19 patients and is managed by the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, has temporarily stopped receiving patients but is on standby. The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Children’s Hospital 1, Children’s Hospital 2, and central hospitals are also ready for Covid-19 treatment.

Besides, 37 hospitals have established Covid treatment departments and set aside 10% of their beds for Covid patients.

This brings the total number of Covid treatment beds to 2,057, including 766 beds with medical oxygen and 300 intensive care beds.

As HCMC is among the five localities with the lowest vaccination rates for the fourth dose and children vaccination, the HCMC Health Department is maintaining vaccinations during the national holiday. City residents can get vaccinated at any of the 58 vaccination sites citywide.

The vaccines were all made by Pfizer.

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