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No evidence to prove Tan Son Nhat COVID-19 variant's transmission speed

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

February 14, 2021 | 17:10

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that there is no evidence that the virus strain causing the disease cluster at Tan Son Nhat airport has high spreading speed.

photo passengers leave tan son nhat airport for tet holiday early over covid 19 concern Photo: Passengers leave Tan Son Nhat Airport for Tet holiday early over Covid-19 concern
three vietnamese airports granted international heath accreditation for covid 19 preventive measures Three Vietnamese airports granted international heath accreditation for Covid-19 preventive measures
cafe shops offer guest perfect view to spot airplanes on and off tan son nhat airport Cafe shops offer guest perfect view to spot airplanes on and off Tan Son Nhat airport
No evidence to prove Tan Son Nhat COVID 19 variant's transmission speed
Photo: Times of India

The head of the health sector raised the above viewpoint at the meeting of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention on the afternoon of February 13.

Reporting from Ho Chi Minh City, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son said that from the outbreak at Tan Son Nhat airport, the health sector has detected 36 positive cases. Ho Chi Minh City tested over 5,000 cases of close exposure, most of whom were negative. The city also opened mass screening in key crowded areas. Of the more than 4,800 samples collected, over 2,000 samples were negative, the rest were waiting for results.

Regarding the virus variant causing the cluster of cases at Tan Son Nhat airport, the Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that the pandemic situation in Ho Chi Minh City was basically controlled. Strong measures such as zoning, isolation, blockade, and extensive testing have been applied.

However, the ministry still asked the city to expand the testing area, especially in industrial zones. This is also recommended with other localities. "We still have to continue wide-ranging scanning, testing all suspicious places, the more samples we will expand, the more assured we will be ready for worse situations," the Minister said.

After listening to in-depth analysis, predicting the possibilities to find the source of the disease in Ho Chi Minh City, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said: "We have more information to suspect that this virus variant penetrates through contact of some Tan Son Nhat airport staff with mechanics or staff of cargo flights from some countries having variation to Vietnam". Not excluding the possibility of pathogens invading from the outside into the airport, he asked for fast tracing, quarantine, virus analysis, to predict, find the source of infection, and treat.

No evidence to prove Tan Son Nhat COVID 19 variant's transmission speed
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long. (Photo: VN Express)

"Tests are required for all suspicious people, when visiting medical facilities, or patients at risk, the city should periodically test cases at high-risk sites. This is very important for big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, requiring flexibility and acumen of the whole field ", said Deputy Prime Minister.

Derived from the original Wuhan, Vietnam has so far recorded four nCoV strains including British, South African, African Rwanda, and G mutant.

On the morning of January 2, the Ministry of Health announced the first case of British strain infection in Vietnam as "patient 1435": a 45-year-old woman, from Tra Vinh, entered the UK on December 22, 2020. The Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology announced the results of the genetic sequencing of the COVID-19 virus on "patient 1442", 25 years old, a South African national, infected with the new nCoV variant from South Africa. This is the first case of infection with the South African strain in Vietnam. This patient was quarantined upon entry.

On February 12, the HCM City Center for Disease Control (HCDC) announced the results of the genetic sequencing of nasopharyngeal fluid samples of the virus on "patient 1979" and two other patients from the loading team at Tan Son Nhat airport showed that they belong strain A.23.1 found in Rwanda, Africa. In addition, in the Da Nang outbreak in late July, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the nCoV strain detected in Da Nang was similar to the strains circulating in many countries at that time with the name of D614G.

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Valerie Mai