As the world battles the ravaging Covid tsunami, Vietnam has discovered a new Covid-19 variant which spreads quickly by air. It is believed to be a combination of the strains first found in India and Britain as health officials confirmed on Saturday. More than 6,800 cases including 47 deaths have been reported in Vietnam since April. The country has been reporting cases of fresh outbreaks across more than half of its territory which includes industrial zones and big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said to the state media that Vietnam have discovered a new hybrid variant from the strains first found in Indian and the UK. The defining characteristic of this strain is that it spreads quickly in the air and the concentration of virus in the throat fluid increases rapidly and spreads very strongly to the surrounding environment.

Vietnam’s Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology said in a statement Saturday that its scientists had detected gene mutations in four out of 32 patient samples through gene sequencing. There were seven known coronavirus variants in Vietnam according to the Ministry of Health.

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The new round of infections and surge has made the public and government fearful and authorities and cafes, restaurants, hair salons and massage parlours as well as tourism and religious spots have been ordered to close in various areas of the country.