Vietnam says it has discovered a new hybrid coronavirus variant

Vietnam says it has discovered a new hybrid coronavirus variant

Vietnam says it has discovered a new hybrid coronavirus variant

Vietnam's Health Ministry on Saturday said it has detected a new variant of the coronavirus that is a mix of the virulent Indian and United Kingdom variants, and spreads quickly by air, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said on Saturday.

Vietnam's Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long (Thwin tai long) described the latest mutation yesterday as "very dangerous".

The dominant variant in the United Kingdom, the B.1.1.7 variant, is known to be more transmissible, while the B.1.617 variant is said to be more adept at evading the human body's immune response. "That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the United Kingdom variant is very risky".

It comes as the country grapples with a spike in infections after largely controlling the virus over the past year. The detection of the new variant pushed the total number of variants in Vietnam to eight.

Laboratory cultures of the new variant, which is much more transmissible than the previously known types, revealed that the virus replicated itself very quickly, explaining why so many new cases appeared in different locations in a short period, Long was quoted as saying.

In nearby Thailand, the government on Saturday took exception to media reports in Britain that labelled a new strain causing concern there as the "Thai variant".

In early May, the country had impressively recorded just over 3,100 confirmed cases and 35 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

"At the present time, we have not yet made an assessment of the virus variant reported in Vietnam", Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead for COVID-19, said in an emailed statement. Hundreds of thousands of people work there to manufacture goods for big tech companies including Samsung, Canon and Apple.

But since cases as increasing again, restrictions have been put in place again.

Vietnam has sought to speed up its vaccination campaign, having administered over 1 million doses to its population of around 98 million. All religious events are banned nationwide, and authorities in major cities have closed public parks and nonessential businesses to help stop large gatherings, according to the AP.

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