Returnees from Cambodia carry new coronavirus variants: Health Ministry
COVID-19 patients recently returning from Cambodia have been infected with more transmissible variants of B1.1.7 of the UK and B.1.352 of South Africa, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said on April 25.
The results of genome sequencing show that 85.7% of the specimens had variant B1.1.7 and 14.3% carried variant B.1.351, the MoH announced.
Variant B1.1.7, first detected in Kent, the UK, in September 2020, is said to be 70% more transmissible, while variant B.1.351 found in Nelson Mandela Bay in October, 2020, is believed to be 20 to 200% more transmissible than the predecessor lineage.
Both variants have been detected in dozens of countries worldwide, according to experts.
Although the variants are yet to cause more severe illnesses, experts said it is hard to control the virus if an infection case is detected in the community. In addition, 80% of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic.
Currently, an increasing number of people residing in COVID-19 ravaged Cambodia are seeking to cross the border into Vietnam, posing an imminent threat of a new coronavirus outbreak in the community.
The Prime Minister has issued a telegram, warning about a possible new outbreak from illegal entrants and requesting localities to tighten anti-coronavirus measures.
Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the MoH and relevant agencies are working on scenarios in which a new outbreak is likely to occur in the coming weeks.
The central province of Quang Nam has put forward plans to host international tourists with vaccine passports and negative coronavirus tests.