Vietnam says it has discovered a new variant of the coronavirus that is a hybrid variant of the Covid-19 virus first found in India and the UK and is easily transmitted by air.
In remarks on Saturday, quoted by state media, Nguyen Thanh Long, the country’s health minister, said genetic sequencing of the country’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology had detected at least four patients with Covid-19 carrying a newly identified hybrid variant.
Le Thi Quynh Mai, deputy head of the institute, said the hybrid had not yet been recorded by GISAID, a global initiative aimed at exchanging information on influenza and other viruses, and that it did not yet have a name.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh reports called on “Emergency response amid the complicated development of the pandemic,” which is now spreading to industrial parks at the heart of Vietnam’s export-oriented economy and foreign direct investment.
The B.1.617.2 variant first found in India is, according to global health officials, more easily transferable than other previously discovered variants. B.1.1.7, which was first found in the UK, is to blame for the severe wave of the virus that struck the country last winter.
According to World Health Organization, the chances of the virus mutating increase when it circulates widely in the population and causes many infections.
The Vietnamese announcement comes as a country under communist rule, which it was praised Last year, international health officials struggled with their sharpest growth from new infections to successfully combat Covid-19.
The number of cases has more than doubled this month to over 6,900, and 47 deaths have been reported. The outbreak prompted officials to impose new blockades in a country where they had lived and worked for most of last year. returned mostly to the norml.
Long said that the new wave of infections in Vietnam is characterized by multiple sources of infections and the presence of different variants of coronavirus. He said it is expanding rapidly in industrial zones, including Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, provinces along the capital Hanoi, where Samsung,, Foxconn and other foreign investors have factories.
The Vietnamese government said vaccinating 240,000 workers in the two provinces would be a priority.
The country’s struggle with new infections and the hybrid variant comes at a time when other Asian countries that curbed the spread of the virus during the first phase of the pandemic, including Taiwan and Thailand, are battling growing infections.
Vietnamese authorities have vaccinated about 1 million of the country’s 98 million people with the AstraZeneca vaccine and ordered several doses of apple and Pfizer vaccine with to aim that 150 million doses of the vaccine will be available this year.
Additional reporting by Pham Hai Chung from Hanoi
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