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Vietnam reports new variant of COVID-19 more contagious than UK strain

Vietnam reports new variant of COVID-19 more contagious than UK strain

The country's health minister said on Tuesday that the new COVID-19 outbreak has infected 276 people and spread to 10 provinces and cities

Representational Image (Photo-Reuters) Representational Image (Photo-Reuters)

Vietnam has confirmed outbreak of a new coronavirus variant which is more contagious than the one detected in the UK.

The country's health minister said on Tuesday that the new COVID-19 outbreak has infected 276 people and spread to 10 provinces and cities.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said, six days since the virus emerged in the northern province of Hai Duong, the cluster there was under control. Containing the spread in the capital, Hanoi where 20 new cases have been detected would take longer, he added.

According to Reuters, Long told in a cabinet meeting "Gene sequencing showed that 12 of 276 newly detected patients are positive with the UK variant, although the source of this outbreak remains unknown."

"We need to scrupulously follow mask-wearing regulations," he advised.

"Hanoi has to increase measures to contain the virus. The health ministry will support the city to upgrade testing capacity to 40,000 tests per day," Long said.

Vietnam approved a vaccine from AstraZeneca PLC on Saturday after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the country must have one in the first quarter.

The government had previously said it was in talks to procure 30 million doses of the vaccine. State media reported the first batch of 50,000 doses would arrive by March, with the rest delivered by June.

Vietnam reported one new coronavirus case on Tuesday. Officials have said they will try to contain the outbreak by Feb 6.

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