No new hybrid variant in Vietnam yet: WHO

By Phan Anh   June 3, 2021 | 12:33 am PT
No new hybrid variant in Vietnam yet: WHO
A medic works on samples at a Covid-19 testing facility in Bac Giang, May 26, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
The WHO told Nikkei Wednesday there is no new "hybrid variant" of the coronavirus in Vietnam at the moment, contrary to an earlier announcement from the Ministry of Health.

Health minister Nguyen Thanh Long said last Saturday that Vietnam had detected a new coronavirus variant that was a hybrid of two existing variants: an Alpha variant first detected in the U.K. and a Delta variant first detected in India.

Long said the new variant, which is actually the Delta variant with mutations found on the Alpha variant, has high transmissibility and can spread widely in the air.

Kidong Park, the WHO representative in Vietnam, told Nikkei Asia on Wednesday however that: "There is no new hybrid variant in Vietnam at this moment based on WHO definition."

"The variant detected is Delta variant, with additional mutations, and needs more observation. We need to monitor during next couple of weeks," Park was quoted as saying, adding that there has been no alarming alert from the WHO for now.

Vietnam's latest coronavirus wave since over a month ago has seen 4,877 local Covid-19 cases so far in 37 cities and provinces. Bac Giang still leads the number of coronavirus infections at 2,620, followed by neighbor Bac Ninh at 941.

The country has detected the presence of seven coronavirus variants so far, including the aforementioned Alpha and Delta variant, as well as another variant named Beta which was first detected in South Africa.

The Alpha and Delta variants have been deemed responsible for some of Vietnam's most recent coronavirus outbreaks due to their higher transmissability than ordinary strains.

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