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COVID-19 patient in Ho Chi Minh City carries highly contagious Indian variant: HCDC

COVID-19 patient in Ho Chi Minh City carries highly contagious Indian variant: HCDC

Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 22:54 GMT+7
COVID-19 patient in Ho Chi Minh City carries highly contagious Indian variant: HCDC
A security guard has his nasal swab collected for COVID-19 tests in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

A COVID-19 patient in Ho Chi Minh City has been found carrying a coronavirus variant that is in circulation in northern Vietnam and taking a toll on India, where hundreds of thousands of cases have been announced daily over the past weeks.

Genome sequencing results showed that 35-year-old N.Q.N., who was confirmed by the Ministry of Health as a coronavirus case in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, had been infected with the ‘double mutant’ Indian variant, the municipal Center for Disease Control said on the same day.

The Indian variant is believed to be more transmissible – the characteristic of the UK mutant – and to lessen the efficacy of COVID-19 jabs – typical of the South African mutation. This explains its ‘double mutant’ label.

The mutated strain is in circulation in northern Vietnam, where epicenters of the ongoing fourth wave of infections are located.

The mutant has been raging in India, which recorded 267,334 new cases and 4,529 deaths on Wednesday alone.

The South Asian nation has reported hundreds of thousands of cases daily for the last few weeks.

Several variants have circulated in Vietnam, with the Indian, UK, and South African mutations capturing the most attention, said Tran Dac Phu, a former senior official from the health ministry.

The Indian mutant is the most contagious, Phu added.

N. first tested positive for the coronavirus at Vinmec Central Park International Hospital in Binh Thanh District on Monday after having a fever, cough, and sore throat, a Thu Duc City Medical Center spokesperson told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday morning. 

The patient, who lives in Block A1 of Sunview Town Apartment Buildings in Hiep Binh Phuoc Ward, Thu Duc City, which is under Ho Chi Minh City, retested positive for COVID-19 at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases on Tuesday afternoon, said Dr. Dinh Thi Hai Yen from the municipal Center for Disease Control. 

One of his co-workers tested positive on Tuesday, the municipal Department of Health said.

She lives in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City and works in the same place as N. in District 3, according to an epidemiological investigation.

Both work on the same eight-member team from Deloitte Vietnam who help build an accounting platform at Grove Group at 129 Pasteur Street, Vo Thi Sau Ward, District 3.

The woman came to Hai Phong in northern Vietnam on April 24 and returned to Ho Chi Minh City on May 5, according to an epidemiological investigation.

The health ministry also logged this case on Wednesday.

Health experts reckoned that she had transmitted the virus to N., citing clinical signs, epidemiological data, and test results.

But they have yet to pinpoint her primary source of infection.

Health authorities have fumigated and sealed off locations related to these two cases while proceeding with contact tracing.

Vietnam is battling a fourth wave that broke out on April 27.

The country has registered 1,648 domestic infections, including 175 patients announced on Wednesday, in 28 provinces and cities since that date.

Bac Giang Province is on top of the table with 605 patients, followed by Bac Ninh Province with 353, and Hanoi with 257. All three places are situated in the northern part of the country.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded only three cases in this round.

Public health professionals have repeatedly said that this wave is particularly serious as transmission has been found in hospitals, the community, and major industrial zones at the same time.

Vietnam detected 910 domestic cases in the third wave from January 28 to March 25, 106 community cases in the first wave from January 23 to April 16, 2020, and 554 in the second from July 25 to December 1, 2020, according to the health ministry’s data.

Vietnam has reported a total of 4,690 local and imported infections as of Wednesday night.

Recoveries have reached 2,687 while 37 virus-related deaths have been reported.

Most of the fatalities had suffered critical pre-existing medical conditions.

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Viet Toan / Tuoi Tre News

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