Making news

New coronavirus variant found in Vietnam

Patient 1,435, a Vietnamese woman repatriated from the UK, has been confirmed as the first COVID-19 case with VOC 202012/01, a recently found and highly contagious variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, in Vietnam.

The Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute made the confirmation on January 2.

The patient, born in 1976, was brought home from the UK on Flight VN50, which landed at Can Tho International Airport in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 22, and was quarantined upon arrival.

She is among the six, out of the 305 passengers on board, tested positive for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

The HCM City Pasteur Institute immediately conducted genetic sequencing on the six patients and found that Patient 1,435 have been infected with the new variant VOC 202012/01, which was recently discovered in the UK.

The woman, having a 10-year history of high blood pressure, is undergoing treatment at the Hospital for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases of Tra Vinh province.

Her husband, who is still in the UK, has also tested positive for the virus.

Tran Dac Phu, senior adviser to Vietnam’s public health emergency operations centre, cited international scientists as saying that the new coronavirus variant in the UK is 70 percent more transmissible than existing strains.

It will be very dangerous if early detection and timely quarantine are absent, he said, warning that the mortality rate is not high, but the more people infected, the more deaths, especially among high-risk groups like the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

As the new variant spreads rapidly, strict monitoring of both illegal and legal entries is needed. A worrying problem now is people who enter the country illegally, so the public’s coordination with authorities is highly necessary for ensuring good control of the pandemic, Phu added.

To head off the spread of the new virus variant, many European countries and some countries and territories in Asia like the Philippines, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Hong Kong (China) have banned  flights from the UK./.