VIETNAM is battling a “very dangerous” Covid hybrid that spreads extremely quickly which is fuelling its worst outbreak so far.
Flights have been suspended and its largest city Ho Chi Minh City has been placed into draconian lockdown as the country’s Communist regime scrambles to avert a disaster.
Vietnam is struggling to contain its worst Covid-19 wave of the pandemic[/caption]
The country has been plunged into a draconian lockdown[/caption]
The South East Asian country had been praised as a success story in fighting Covid because it saw a small window to act early on and used it fully with a harsh lockdown.
But now a new hybrid — said to be a mix of the British and the Indian strain — is threatening to plunge the country into a crisis and export the virus to the rest of the world.
The Vietnamese authorities revealed on Saturday they had discovered a “very dangerous” new coronavirus variant that spreads quickly by air.
There are also fears the new variant may affect young and healthy people more than previous strains.
Abhishek Rimal, the Regional Coordinator for Public Health in Asia Pacific, said although the full genomic sequence of the potential hybrid was still unclear, initial reports on the ground were worrying.
They do suspect it will have even higher transmissibility than the original strain or any of the variants
Abhishek Rimal, the Regional Coordinator for Public Health in Asia Pacific
He told the Daily Telegraph: “What we understand from the field and some of the epidemiologists from the country is that they do suspect it will have even higher transmissibility than the original strain or any of the variants,” he told The Telegraph.
“If confirmed, we could see a steep rise of Covid19 in Vietnam and even beyond around Southeast Asia.”
Vietnam has so far seen just over 7,100 Covid-19 cases and 47 deaths.
But more than 4,000 of these cases have emerged in an outbreak that first came to light on April 27, and which has been detected in 34 cities and provinces.
Despite the alarming nature of the variant, the country is not on the UK red list which would require arriving passengers to undergo ten days of quarantine in a hotel.
MASS TESTING UNDERWAY
In a bid to stamp out the mutation, people in Ho Chi Minh city are only allowed to leave home for necessary activities.
Public gatherings of more than 10 people are banned for the next two weeks, the government announced.
State newspaper Vietnam News said the city authority is planning to test its entire population with a testing capacity of 100,000 samples a day.
But the country is struggling to buy vaccines, although it is not yet clear whether the jab would protect people from the new variant.
The newspaper also said police had filed a case against the couple who head a Protestant church mission for spreading dangerous infectious diseases, citing poor health protocols applied at the premises.
Lab tests say the hybrid variant can is more transmissible and can replicate more quickly[/caption]
The new hybrid UK-Indian variant was detected in Vietnam[/caption]
At least 145 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported with links to the Revival Ekklesia Mission, a Protestant sect, and the city district of Go Vap, where the church is based, has been locked down.
Vietnam has since banned all religious events nationwide.
The newspaper said church followers gathered in small space for singing and chanting without proper distancing and mask wearing. Ho Chi Minh city police said the mission has 48 registered members.
The report said the husband and wife accused in the case were responsible for leading and organizing activities at the church.
They were not identified and are not under arrest.
Since the end of April, a surge in Covid-19 has spread to 31 municipalities and provinces in Vietnam with over 4,000 cases, almost double the total number that the country reported since the beginning of the pandemic.