Hanoi: The Minister of Health of Vietnam said on Saturday that a new variant of the coronavirus has been discovered in Vietnam, which is a mixture of strains first discovered in India and the United Kingdom.
Nguyen Thanh Long said scientists examined the genetic makeup of the virus that had infected some recent patients, and found the new version of the virus. He said lab tests suggested it might spread more easily than other versions of the virus.
Viruses often develop small genetic changes as they reproduce, and new variants of the coronavirus have been seen almost since it was first detected in China in late 2019. The World Health Organization has listed four global “variants of concern” – the two first found in the U.K. and India, plus ones identified in South Africa and Brazil.
Long says the new variant could be responsible for a recent surge in Vietnam, which has spread to 30 of the country’s 63 municipalities and provinces.
Vietnam initially achieved outstanding success in the fight against the virus-since the beginning of May, since the beginning of the pandemic, Vietnam has recorded 3,100 confirmed cases and 35 deaths.
But in the past few weeks, Vietnam has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 47.
Most of the new gearboxes are found in the two densely industrialized provinces of Beining and Beijiang, where hundreds of thousands of people work for major companies, including Samsung, Canon, and Luxshare, a partner that assembles Apple products. Despite strict health regulations, a company in Bac Giang found that one-fifth of its 4,800 workers had tested positive for the virus.
The Ministry of Health said that in Ho Chi Minh City (the country’s largest city and home of 9 million people), at least 85 people have tested positive under the spotlight of the Protestant church. Worshipers sing and chant without wearing proper masks or taking other precautions while sitting together.
Since then, Vietnam ordered the prohibition of all religious activities nationwide. In major cities, the authorities prohibit large gatherings, closed parks and non-essential businesses, including in-person restaurants, bars, clubs and spas.
Vietnam so far has vaccinated 1 million people with AstraZeneca shots. Last week, it sealed a deal with Pfizer for 30 million doses, which are scheduled to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of this year. It is also in talks with Moderna that would give it enough shots to fully vaccine 80% of its 96 million people.