A new coronavirus variant has been discovered in Vietnam. The variant spreads quickly through the air and is a combination of the strains first found in India and the UK.
The health minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Thanh Long has described the Covid hybrid as ‘very dangerous’. Vietnam is struggling with fresh outbreaks across the country including industrial zones and big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. So far, around 6,800 coronavirus cases and 47 deaths have been reported in the country.
“We have discovered a new hybrid variant from the strains first found in India and the UK,” said health minister Nguyen Thanh Long in a national meeting on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on Saturday.
“The characteristic of this strain is that it spreads quickly in the air. The concentration of virus in the throat fluid increases rapidly and spreads very strongly to the surrounding environment,” he added.
The country has not revealed the number of cases recorded due to the new Covid variant but said to announce soon. The Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of Vietnam said that scientists had detected the gene mutation in four out of 32 patient samples.
Earlier, there were seven known Covid variants in Vietnam. The country had also received appreciation for its aggressive pandemic response with mass quarantines and strict contact tracing which helped in keeping the infection rate low.
However, the new variant has made Vietnam fearful and authorities have quickly placed restrictions on movement and business activity. Cafes, restaurants, hair salons and massage parlors along with tourism and religious spots have been ordered to remain close in several parts of the country.