Vietnam has confirmed that the more contagious British Coronavirus variant is fueling its recent outbreak, the nation’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
Nguyen Thanh Long, the health minister, said in a statement that genetic sequencing from patients in Hai Duong province, the centre of the nation’s largest outbreak since the start of the pandemic confirmed the British variant was present in those infected.
The cases in Hai Duong were found in a factory that employs thousands, the area surrounding the factory has been locked down.
Vietnam is battling a significant outbreak of Coronavirus, with more than 270 cases confirmed since 100 cases were confirmed on Jan. 28, the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.
The cases were mostly linked to the Hai Duong cluster and another smaller outbreak in Quang Ninh province.
The outbreak has now spread to nine provinces and major cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Authorities have asked all schools, bars and karaoke parlours in the capital to close starting from Monday, and ordered localised lockdown where cases have been confirmed across the country.
Hanoi authorities had reportedly collected more than 14,000 samples from individuals associated with the hotspots in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh provinces as of Monday, according to state media reports.
The outbreak also arrives just weeks before Lunar New Year, when many Vietnamese travel across the country for indoor family gatherings.
Till date, Vietnam has officially recorded 1,851 coronavirus cases and 35 deaths.