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Covid variant in VN not new ‘hybrid’, WHO says

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A health worker wearing protective gear takes a swab sample for Covid-19 testing at a school in Hanoi this month. AFP

Covid variant in VN not new ‘hybrid’, WHO says

A variant of the novel coronavirus that Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long presented as a combination of the strains first identified in the UK and India is not a new ‘hybrid’, but the existing B.1.617 strain first detected in India, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Vietnam Dr Kidong Park told Japanese newspaper Nikkei in a virtual interview.

“There is no new hybrid variant in Vietnam at this moment based on WHO definition,” Park was quoted as saying.

“The variant detected is Delta variant, with additional mutations, and needs more observation,” he said, referring to B.1.617 using the global health body’s new naming scheme for variants with ‘non-stigmatising’ Greek letters.

“We need to monitor during next couple of weeks … as for now, there is no alarming alert from WHO”, he said, emphasising the dangerousness of the variant due to its “highly contagious” nature and ability to spread “very quickly”.

The Vietnamese ministry health on June 5 reported an additional 254 cases of Covid-19, raising the national tally to 8,541.

Of the number, eight were imported cases, while among 246 locally-infected cases, 149 were in Bac Giang, 55 in Bac Ninh, 31 in Ho Chi Minh City, two in Ha Tinh, one in Tien Giang, two in Vinh Phuc, two in Binh Duong, one in Ha Nam, one in Lang Son, one in K Hospital and one in the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

The number of cases recorded in the latest wave of outbreaks since April 27 rose to 5,420.

A total of 3,310 patients have been given the all-clear, while the death toll rose to 53, most of whom were suffering from serious underlying illnesses.

Over 176,870 people who had close contact with Covid-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined across the country.

An additional 60,701 people received Covid-19 vaccine shots on June 4, while 32,401 people have received two shots. The total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered so far rose to more than 1.21 million.

Vietnam on the same day confirmed the 53rd Covid-19-related death – a 53-year-old woman with underlying health conditions.

The deceased patient, numbered 3018, was from Bac Yen, Son La province and had polyneuritis.

On May 5, the patient was confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. She had a fever and increasing respiratory failure, and fell into septic shock and suffered multi-organ failure.

The patient was treated in intensive care but died on June 4.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK with additional reporting by The Post.

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