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Vietnam discovers new hybrid covid-19 strain

Vietnam discovers new hybrid covid-19 strain

The Vietnamese epidemiologists have reported on the new variant of the covid-19 pathogen. A strain from a combination of the British and Indian variants spreads quickly, Agence France-Presse in Hanoi has learned.

Vietnam warns people on the new covid-19 variant which spreads more quickly by air, being the dangerous mix of variants first identified in India and the United Kingdom, state media has reported on Saturday.

Over the months, the Southeast Asian nation is struggling to deal with fresh outbreaks across more than half of its territory including big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. According to the health ministry, more than 6,700 cases including 47 deaths have been reported in the country, most of which have occurred since April.

“We have discovered a new hybrid variant from the Indian and the UK strains,” the top medical official, Nguyen Thanh Long, said.

The health minister added that the concentration of the new strain in the throat fluid increases rapidly and spreads very strongly to the surrounding environment. Commenting on the respective health protocol, Nguyen Thanh Long did not specify the number of cases recorded with this new variant. Although, he said Vietnam would soon announce the discovery in the world’s map of genetic strains.

The new strain requires more attention

Vietnam with its population of 97 million people has vaccinated just over 1 million citizens so far. It is now ramping up its jab rollout and hopes to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year. The new round of infections has made the public and government fearful and authorities quickly moved to place strict limits on movement and business activity.

To avoid further spreading, cafes, restaurants, hair salons and massage parlours have been ordered to close in some territories. The touristic and religious spots also shut their doors.

The government has close to 2 mln doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine left, but said it was buying more than 30 mln doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot. It is also in talks with Moscow to produce Sputnik V, and is working on a homegrown vaccine.