Vietnam, which is dealing with its worst outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, introduced new restrictions for its largest metropolis on Sunday, a day after its well being minister stated a “very harmful” new variant of the coronavirus had been detected within the nation.
New social distancing necessities will likely be imposed in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, which has a inhabitants of some 9 million, roughly double that of the capital, Hanoi. The restrictions embody a restrict of 5 individuals in public gatherings, the state-run newspaper Tuoi Tre reported. A church in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis is on the middle of a cluster involving no less than 126 circumstances, in accordance with state information media.
Metropolis officers stated that residents ought to preserve strict social distancing of no less than six ft and keep residence until completely obligatory, particularly if they’re over 60, Tuoi Tre reported. It stated the restrictions would go into impact at midnight.
Till not too long ago, Vietnam, a rustic of about 97 million individuals, had had outstanding success in containing the virus. Final 12 months, it by no means reported greater than 50 new circumstances in a single day. By the top of April, it had reported fewer than 3,000 circumstances and solely 35 deaths.
However since then, its caseload has greater than doubled, to nearly 7,000, and its dying toll has risen to 47. The coronavirus has now unfold to no less than 30 of the nation’s municipalities and provinces.
Vietnam’s discovery of a brand new variant was reported at a authorities assembly Saturday by the well being minister, Nguyen Thanh Lengthy. He stated it had traits of the variants first recognized in India and Britain, in accordance with Reuters, which obtained a recording of the assembly.
“That the brand new one is an Indian variant with mutations that initially belong to the U.Okay. variant may be very harmful,” Mr. Long said. He stated laboratory checks indicated that the variant replicated itself very quickly, which he stated might doubtlessly clarify the surge of circumstances in Vietnam.
But it surely was not instantly clear how a lot was understood in regards to the variant — whether or not it replicates as quickly in regular situations because it does within the lab, which particular mutations it has and the way prevalent it may be. Viruses mutate consistently, however many of the mutations dwindle away. Mr. Lengthy stated the federal government would publish knowledge about it quickly.
Earlier than Sunday, Vietnam had already imposed a variety of restrictions in areas the place outbreaks had occurred, together with closing eating places, bars, golf equipment, parks and spas. It additionally imposed a nationwide ban on non secular gatherings.
Different Southeast Asian international locations are additionally battling their worst outbreaks of the pandemic, together with Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, which on Saturday reported its fifth consecutive each day report of recent circumstances with greater than 9,000. Taiwan, one other success story from final 12 months, can also be struggling its worst outbreak.
All 5 governments try to step up their vaccination efforts. Well being consultants have stated that the gradual tempo of inoculation in a lot of the world poses the danger that new variants which can be deadlier and extra simply transmitted will proceed to emerge.
Chau Doan contributed reporting.