International flights into Vietnamese capital Hanoi will be banned for a week from Monday, May 31. The measure is to avoid the spread of a variant described as a “combination” of the British and Indian strains.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the existence of an amalgamation of the two variants in the country.
Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh, imposed 15 days of stringent lockdown restrictions, such as a ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people.
WHO observed that, from 32 samples of people who tested positive for the Indian variant in northern Vietnam, four had a Y144 deletion mutation in the spike protein.
The mutation found in the samples is characteristic of the B117 strain, known as the Kent variant.
Dr Kidong Park, WHO’s Vietnam representative, said: “Virus mutations are to be expected.
“WHO Vietnam is working with our national counterparts to monitor this new mutation and support investigation as needed.”
The news comes after Scotland’s deputy first minister warned the Indian variant is at an “uncomfortably high” level in Glasgow.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight last week, John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Covid recovery, unveiled the Government’s plans to curb the spread of the pathogen.
He said: “The cases are at an uncomfortably high level although…we are seeing evidence of those stabilising.