HCMC – The Ministry of Health this evening, February 17, reported 36,200 new Covid-19 cases, with 10 of them imported and 36,190 locally infected, breaking the record set yesterday.
Of the domestic infections, Hanoi continued its top spot with 3,893 cases, followed by Thai Nguyen with 2,478, Quang Ninh with 2,477, Haiphong with 1,548 and Phu Tho with 1,417.
Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh, Nghe An, Hai Duong, Nam Dinh, Hoa Binh and Bac Giang also recorded over 1,000 new cases each.
The country has reported 200 cases linked to the Omicron variant, including 97 in HCMC and the remaining in 16 other provinces and cities.
Today, 5,810 Covid patients were announced to have recovered from the disease. Meanwhile, 90 Covid fatalities were confirmed, including 19 in Hanoi, eight in Danang, seven in Nam Dinh and six in Kien Giang.
In related news, the Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health has approved three locally produced Covid-19 antiviral drugs that contain the Molnupiravir active substance.
They include the 400-mg Molravir of Boston Vietnam Phamarceutical JSC, the 200-mg Movinavir of Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical JSC and the 400-mg Molnupiravir Stella of Stellapharm Co., Ltd.
On January 5, the Advisory Council for the Registration of Circulation of Drugs and Medicinal Ingredients proposed approving these three drugs.
In another development, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son, at an online meeting with localities today, ordered that students would not have to undergo Covid tests before returning to school. Only those showing Covid-19 symptoms or having close contact with Covid cases will undergo the tests, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.
Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son said since February 7, over 21 million students have returned to school, accounting for 93.71% of the total students nationwide.
The reopening of schools has achieved the consensus of parents, teachers and experts.
However, some schools have been confused about handling students infected with Covid-19 or having direct contacts with Covid cases.
Some localities, including Thanh Hoa and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, have even asked all students to undergo Covid tests before attending in-person classes.
Minister Son proposed the Government direct localities to build consistent plans on the safe reopening of schools.
Concluding the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the reopening of schools must be consistent nationwide. The Ministry of Health must issue guidelines about the Covid-19 testing in schools, the monitoring of students suffering from underlying illnesses and the quarantine period for students who are direct contacts of Covid cases.