- Hybrid, more contagious and more dangerous: the new Vietnamese strain triggers alerts
Detection was confirmed on May 29, 2021, by the Vietnamese health authorities who are desperately trying to control the spike in infections.
According to the latest reports, Vietnam has detected in its country a new variant of coronavirus, not registered until now, and that could be much more contagious than the original because it is a mixture between the Indian and British strain. The existence of a new hybrid variant was confirmed this Saturday by the Vietnamese authorities, focused on stopping the worst wave of infections that the Southeast Asian country has had to face so far.
According to the Vietnamese Minister of Health, Nguyen Thanh Long, “more specifically, it is the Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the British variant. ”
The genome data has not yet been made public, but Long has already announced that he would release it in the next few days. The World Health Organization ( WHO ), waiting to obtain more information, assured this Sunday that the variant detected in Vietnam would be India (B1617), but “possibly with an additional mutation,” said the technical leader. Maria Van Kerkhove.
That “additional” mutation, therefore, and as confirmed by the Vietnamese authorities on Saturday, would be the British one.
“Very dangerous” and especially contagious through the air
When confirming its detection, Nguyen Thanh Long described this variant as “very dangerous” due to its high transmissibility. Specifically, the minister of Vietnam explained that it is especially fast through the air. “The concentration of virus in the throat and saliva increases rapidly and spreads rapidly in a close environment,” Long said.
How was it detected?
The new version was discovered by investigating the genome sequence of the virus in some new infected in the Indochinese nation, a screening carried out mainly to find out the cause of the rapid spread of the virus in recent weeks.
They have not yet specified the exact number of confirmed cases (although local media claim that it represents more than half of the total infected) or if the strain originated in the country itself or, on the contrary, it is an imported variant.
What steps are they taking?
The Vietnamese authorities have put in place a series of measures and tough restrictions to curb transmission. For example, the inhabitants of the most populous city in Vietnam, Ho Chin Minh City, must comply with a series of social distancing measures (two meters) for at least two weeks since Monday. Are all kinds of social events also suspended, meetings are limited to 10 people and a general recommendation is released to all citizens: do not leave home except essential activities in the coming weeks.
In order to detect new infections and thus cut transmission chains, the Government has also carried out a massive screening campaign. The 13 million inhabitants of Ho Chi Minh will be tested for the virus , collecting some 100,000 samples a day in the coming weeks
Regarding mobility, the country has also decided to shield the borders of its capital from foreign travelers . From this Tuesday, Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport will stop receiving foreign travelers. A measure that they intend to maintain until June 7 and that contemplates certain exceptions, such as the legacy of Vietnamese, diplomats or qualified workers, among others, who must keep 21 days of quarantine.