Hanoi, Vietnam – Vietnam’s health minister said on Saturday that Vietnam had discovered a new strain of the corona virus, a combination of strains first found in India and Britain.
Nguyen Tan Long said scientists studied the genetic structure of the virus that infected some recent patients and found a new version of the virus. “Laboratory tests show that it may spread easily from other versions of the virus,” he said.
Viruses often cause small genetic changes through reproduction, and the new coronavirus has been seen in China since its inception in late 2019. The World Health Organization lists four global “concerns” – Britain and India, plus those identified in South Africa and Brazil.
Long says the new option could be the cause of Vietnam’s recent rise to 30 of 63 municipalities and provinces.
Vietnam was initially a breakthrough in the fight against the virus – since early May, more than 3,100 cases have been confirmed and 35 deaths have been reported since the onset of the epidemic.
But in the past few weeks, Vietnam has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 47.
Most of the new transfers were found in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, two densely populated provinces with industrial zones where hundreds of thousands of people work in large companies including Samsung, Canon and Luxshare, a partner in assembling Apple products. Despite strict health regulations, a company in Bac Giang found that one-fifth of its 4,800 workers were positive for the virus.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s largest metropolis and home to 9 million people, at least 85 people tested positive as part of a cluster in a Protestant church, the Ministry of Health said. Worshipers sang and chanted while sitting close to each other without using appropriate masks or other precautions.
Vietnam has since issued a ban on all religious events across the country. In large cities, authorities have banned large communities, closed public parks, and unnecessary occupations, including restaurants, cafes, clubs, and spas.
Vietnam has so far vaccinated 1 million people with AstraZeneca. Last week, the deal was signed with Pfizer for 30 million doses, due in the third and fourth quarters of this year. It is also in talks with Moderna, which gives it enough photos to vaccinate 80% of the 96 million people.
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