The government of Vietnam announced on Monday that it would suspend international flights into Hanoi this week and tighten COVID-related restrictions in the city because of a recent increase in coronavirus cases. Vietnam has had the lowest pandemic numbers globally but now faces a new virus variant mixing those first detected in the United Kingdom and India.
International flights into Hanoi suspended from 1st June through 7th June, and the United States Embassy in Vietnam reports international flights into Ho Chi Minh City also suspended until 14th June. Hanoi imposed the latest restrictions after Ho Chi Minh City expanded its COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday for at least weeks and announced it would test its whole population of 9 million people for coronavirus.
New Variant combines characteristics of existing variants first found in the U.K. and India
The outbreak of Ho Chi Minh City linked to a religious mission in the city that might link to the majority of the cases in the city – at least one hundred and twenty-five – the administration announced on Sunday. Moreover, the new restrictions announced after the administration came to know on Saturday that it had discovered a new COVID-19 variant, which according to the health minister of Vietnam said combines characteristics of both existing variants initially found in the United Kingdom and India.
The new strain is an Indian-oriented variant with mutations that initially belong to the U.K. variant, makes the variant very risky and is more contagious than previously identified forms of COVID-19, according to the statement of the health minister Nguyen Thanh Long during a governmental meeting. On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that health officials detected four mutation cases among thirty-two samples from people in northern Vietnam with the B.1.617 variant initially detected in India, and the health organization is observing the new mutation.
According to Johns Hopkins University, around 7240 coronavirus cases with forty-seven deaths recorded in Vietnam since the start of the epidemic. Previously, Vietnam greeted as one of the most successful at managing the coronavirus – the nation went three months without recording any domestic virus cases in the fall and didn’t record its first deaths until last year’s August. However, more than half of its cases recorded since late April 2021, when the current surge in the cases started.
AstraZeneca and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines considered effective against Indian and U.K. variants
The recent outbreak of Vietnam could possibly disrupt the technology supply chain if it continues, as the new surge in the cases led to employment shortages in the factories that make supplies for firms such as Samsung and Apple. In addition, the B.1.1.7 variant originally detected in the U.K. and B.1.617 originally detected in India are the two variants that the World Health organization identified as variants of concern.
The latest study found that the AstraZeneca and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines considered to protect against both these variants. In the same way, the Moderna vaccine also considered being defensive against the new variants. According to public health statistics, only around one million vaccine doses administered in Vietnam, and below 0.1 percent of the overall population received full vaccination.