A baggage handler who worked for Vietnam Airport Ground Services Co., Ltd. (VIAGS), the ground service provider at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport, has been announced the latest case suspected of COVID-19 transmission in Ho Chi Minh City by the municipal Center for Disease Control (HCDC) on Saturday.
The suspected case, which is pending for confirmation from the Ministry of Health, was detected during the mass testing for VIAGS employees and their family members.
This person did not attend an earlier COVID-19 screening for workers of VIAGS as he quit the job since February 1.
However, the later mass testing revealed the new case’s mother, who works at GGM Vietnam Co., Ltd in Tan Binh Industrial Zone of Binh Tan District, to be infected with COVID-19 on Friday.
Investigation and contact tracing for both of the mentioned cases was promptly rolled out.
As of Saturday, eight staff members of Tan Son Nhat International Airport were tested positive for the novel coronavirus, all of whom are ground service staffers and baggage handlers under Vietnam Airport Ground Services Company Limited (VIAGS).
Genome sequencing results from the Ho Chi Minh City Hosital for Tropical Disease showed that the virus found in the Tan Son Nhat Airport cluster are the A.23.1 variant, which was first documented in Rwanda in October 2020 and has been detected in the U.S., UAE, Australia, the UK, and Denmark since.
This is also the first detection of the A.23.1 pathogen transmission recorded in Vietnam.
City authorities are trying to stall the virus spread by shuttering non-essential services like bars, clubs, and karaoke parlors.
They have also canceled Lunar New Year fireworks displays to prevent large gatherings.
Mass sampling for COVID-19 testing was rolled out at high-risk areas of the city, including residential areas, bus stations, wholesale markets and indistrual zones since Wednesday and is expected to conclude on Sunday, said the HCDC.
Ho Chi Minh City has recorded 204 cases of COVID-19 transmission, 45 of which are still receiving treatment.
Vietnam has documented 2,142 coronavirus patients, including 1,248 locally-transmitted infections, as of Saturday morning, according to the Ministry of Health.
Thirty-five patients have died of the pathogen, most having suffered chronic underlying medical conditions.
Health authorities give an update on patient counts at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm every day.