Japan concerned by Vietnam news of new hybrid India and UK Covid-19 variant
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
Japan is concerned by news emanating from Vietnam about a new hybrid variant of the coronavirus (Covid-19). According to the government of Vietnam, this concerns variants that were first acknowledged in India and the United Kingdom (UK). Therefore, with increasing reports of the coronavirus strain from India impacting inside Japan, the fear is that the same hybrid with the UK variant will emerge throughout the country in the following weeks and months.
Vietnam is notifying the world that this hybrid version spreads rapidly by air. Other nations, also largely escaping the worst, including Australia, have also reported that the variant from India spreads more rapidly. Hence, the news that a new hybrid variant is spreading quickly in Vietnam will worry Japan given the slow vaccination program.
Nguyen Thanh Long, the Health Minister, said, “We have discovered a new hybrid variant from the Indian and the UK strains.”
The minister continued, “The characteristic of this strain is that it spreads quickly in the air. The concentration of virus in the throat fluid increases rapidly and spreads very strongly to the surrounding environment.”
Associated Press reports, “Most of the new transmissions were found in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, two provinces dense with industrial zones where hundreds of thousands of people work for major companies including Samsung, Canon and Luxshare, a partner in assembling Apple products. Despite strict health regulations, a company in Bac Giang discovered that one fifth of its 4,800 workers had tested positive for the virus.”
At the weekend, the National Governors’ Association (NGA) in Japan issued concerns about recent developments in India, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and further afield. The videoconference was attended by the overwhelming majority of prefectural governors.
The Governor of Mie prefecture, Eikei Suzuki, notified people that the variant from India was now spreading in the United Kingdom. This especially applies to the younger generation. Thus the Governor of Mie fears that “The same thing will probably happen in Japan, triggering a big wave of infections.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “The NGA is especially concerned because of the horrendously slow vaccination program, border measures that are deemed inadequate according to Governor Ryuta Ibaragi of Okayama, ongoing health strains, and other important areas related to the coronavirus crisis. Hence, the NGA fears that the variant from India will spread throughout Japan and will possibly create a hybrid with the UK variant – and others – like Vietnam is reporting.”
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