Prof. Lan said that gene sequencing results showed that the sub-variant BA.5 of Omicron has been found in Vietnam.
“This variant may overwhelm the old sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2)," he underscored.
The intrusion is inevitable because the sub-variant has been seen in countries in Europe and the US and travel activities among countries have been allowed, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health will continue to monitor pandemic developments.
The number of COVID-19 cases has been falling with a very low ratio of infections and deaths. Patients mostly suffered Omicron’s sub-variant BA.2 with mild symptoms. The majority of the cases were recorded in the northern region with about 107,000 in the last two months.
Prof. Lan attributed the results to a high vaccination ratio and effective activities to protect high-risks groups.
He said initial research showed the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 spread faster than BA1 and BA.2. There has been no specific evidence on the new sub-variants’ virulence, but some studies indicated that there is an aggravation in the African region.
The World Health Organisation has warned that as the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 are making the pandemic complicated again, countries need to maintain measures such as vaccination and monitoring.
The Health Ministry called on people, especially those at a high risk of infection, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.