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New Hybrid Coronavirus Variant

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3 Jul 2021

On May 29 2021, Vietnamese Health Minister Mr Nguyen Thanh Long announced that a new hybrid covid-19 variant has been discovered in Vietnam. He also called the new variant "very dangerous".

Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia. With 7432 cases and 47 deaths of covid-19 recorded to date. But the country has reported a sudden boom in covid-19 infections. More than half of the total cases have been reported since late April this year according to John Hopkins University. Genetic sequencing by the National Institute Of Hygiene And Epidemiology found at least four Covid-19 patients in the country carrying the hybrid variant. Most of the new infections were found in the industrial provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac.

This new variant is considered to be a hybrid of the covid-19 UK variant (B.1.222, B.1.619, D614G, B.1.1.7). and Indian variant ( B.1.351, A.23.1 and B.1.617.2). A study of the new variant discovered that the virus replicated itself very quickly which can be the reason for the spike of covid-19 cases in different parts of the country in a very short period. It is also more easily transmissible and spreads quickly in the air. Owing to this variant the virus concentration in the throat increases rapidly and spreads strongly to the surrounding environment making it all the more lethal.

A spokesperson for the health ministry said that the country would soon publish the genome data for the newly identified vacant and the variant has not been named yet.

Vietnam previously received widespread applause for its own time pandemic response with the mass quarantines and contract tracing helping keep infection rates low. The country was also regarded as the second-best in covid-19 virus containment and management. But with the discovery of the new variant and a new round of infections has filled the atmosphere with fear and the country is now placing strict limitations on movements and activities. Restaurants hair salons, cafes and massage parlours as well as tourism and religious spots have also been ordered to close in different parts of the country.

The Country’s population is over 97 million and has vaccinated a little over a million citizens. With a very large proportion of the population unvaccinated, the danger looms over the country because of the new variant being considered airborne.

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Dhriti Jain

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