Vietnam has discovered a new species of coronavirus that is more recognizable and has forms of two more species.
“Vietnam has discovered a new variant of COVID-19 that combines the characteristics of the two with differences first found in India and the UK,” said Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long, according to Reuters. “That the new is an Indian variety with a mutation originally belonging to the UK variety is very dangerous.”
The announcement came on Saturday as the country faces the current rise in infections that began in May.
Long said the new variety could be responsible for the latest surge, according to the AP.
The new variant is more airborne and Long said scientists have seen the ability of the variety to multiply in lab cultures, according to VnExpress.
Seven more coronavirus strains were detected in the country before Saturday’s announcement. The more recent variety has no name, but the health ministry plans to publish data on its genome.
Since the start of the pandemic, Vietnam has reported 6,713 cases and 47 deaths as of Saturday. A little over half of the cases and 12 of the deaths were reported last month, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Most of the latest cases reported come from Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces, both of which have a large industrial presence. Hundreds of thousands of people work there to manufacture products for major tech companies including Samsung, Canon and Apple.
Early in the pandemic, Vietnam was praised for a short number of cases and died. Aggressive policies and experience in moving the country away from the first epidemics were seen as effective measures to stop the spread.
But as the number of cases also increased, bans were also imposed. All religious activities are banned nationwide, and authorities in major cities have closed public parks and non -essential businesses to help stop large gatherings, according to the AP.
Nearly 29,000 people or .03% of the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, of which more than 1 million doses have been given.