Vietnam’s health ministry released a statement stating that a possible new coronavirus variant has been detected in the country with suspicion of being a hybrid of the UK and Indian strain.
Vietnam’s Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long stated in a press conference that “a new coronavirus variant with characteristics from the existing Indian and UK variants has been detected in Vietnam for the first time.”
Vietnam, a southeast Asian country has been applauded for its aggressive approach to curtail the virus infection spreading in the country as well as keeping the newer infectious variants reaching the county at bay by strict quarantine and monitoring program as well as the screening of the passengers and restricting air travel in the past.
But since April, Vietnam is observing a sharp increase in the covid-19 cases compared to the previous months. The fourth wave of covid-19 in the country is proving to be more widespread than any of the previous ones. This time the infection is spreading fast in the industrial zones of the country which has become the new hub of infection spread of numerous coronavirus variants.
The health minister stated that it cannot be determined at the moment whether the sudden spike in coronavirus patients is because of the new variant or not but it does suggest that it is highly transmissible.
The new variant is said to be an amalgamation of the UK and Indian variant which has mutated further. These variants have been a reason of concern in their originating countries as they were the sole reason behind a sudden spark in the coronavirus cases.
The World Health Organization also confirmed the possibility of a newer coronavirus strain after four people were confirmed to be suffering from the suspected new variant.
The government of Vietnam imposed newer stricter restrictions on its population for the next two weeks. The government announced the closure of religious activities, shops, and restaurants as well as the closure of all unnecessary activities.
Ho Chi Minh city, the country’s largest urban and most populous city, is reported to have seen a surge in cases after a recent religious mission. Under the strict restrictions, public gatherings of more than 10 people were banned and it may be reduced to 5 if the infection rate does not drop.
The fourth wave of coronavirus in the country has shaped up into an outbreak spreading to almost 63 cities and provinces including the capital of the country, Hanoi.
The vaccination rate of the country is still very low at 0.03% that makes less than 30,000 in a population of approximately 96 million people.
The health ministry of the country is struggling to get the population vaccinated while trying to secure vaccine doses under the COVAX sharing scheme.
Vietnam has received 2.9 million doses from sputnik V and Pfizer so far and is expected to receive almost 150 million more by the end of this year.
WHO’s the technical lead for Covid-19 Marla Van Ker has exclaimed that they were working and analyzing the reports from Vietnam regarding the new variant but as the virus mutates itself, newer versions of the parent variant are bound to evolve from time to time worldwide. She further said that WHO is working with the Virus Evolution Working Group to determine the intensity and spreading scope of the newly mutated variant which is said to be a hybrid between British and Indian variants, both have proven to be highly transmissible.