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COVID-19 Virus Variant in Vietnam Traced in Rwanda

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Coronvarius outbreaks believed to stem from an airport in Ho Chi Minh City may have been caused by a variant first detected in Africa, the municipal Center for Disease Control said in a report on Friday.

Genome sequencing results showed that the virus that is raging in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was first found in Rwanda in the third week of October 2020, the center said in the report.

The mutated coronavirus, named A.23.1., has been detected in the U.S., UAE, Australia, the UK, and Denmark since.

No abnormal complications have been recorded in these countries regarding this variant, which is different from the more contagious B.1.1.7 found in the UK.

Scientists sequenced virus fragments in samples taken from three COVID-19 patients in the city to reach the conclusion.

The UK’s mutated strain was already confirmed to cause infections in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh Provinces, which are Vietnam’s epicenters in this new wave that started blindsiding the Southeast Asian country on January 28. Vietnam had gone nearly two months without local transmission.

Five hundred and fifty-three domestic cases have been recorded in 13 provinces and cities since then, including 383 in Hai Duong Province, 59 in Quang Ninh Province, 29 in Hanoi, and 34 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City recorded the first patient of the new wave, a porter at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, on February 6.

It has recorded an additional 33 domestic cases ever since, most traced back to the airport.

City authorities have shuttered non-essential services like bars, clubs, and karaoke parlors to stall COVID-19 spread.

They have canceled Lunar New Year fireworks displays to prevent large gatherings.

Local residents are told to wear face masks in public, wash hands, keep safe distance, avoid crowds, and declare health status.

Vietnam has documented 2,140 coronavirus patients, including 1,246 locally-transmitted infections, as of Friday afternoon, according to the Ministry of Health.

The health ministry confirmed 51 recoveries on Thursday, taking the total number of recovered patients to 1,531.

Thirty-five patients have died of the pathogen, most having suffered chronic underlying medical conditions.

Health authorities give an update on patient counts at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm every day.


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