HÀ NỘI — Staff working at Sunny Club in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc contracted the Indian variant of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology took samples of COVID-19 patients in Vĩnh Phúc, Hà Nam, Hưng Yên and Hà Tĩnh provinces to trace the origin of the virus.
Samples taken from three female staff of Sunny Club showed they had contracted B.1.617.2, the Indian variant, known as a ‘double mutant’, which has been found in at least 17 countries.
They are among six bar staff confirmed as having COVID-19 last week after being in close contact with a Chinese expert who came to the bar and tested positive earlier.
Six samples in Hà Nam, two in Hưng Yên and two in Hà Tĩnh (taken from two patients traveling from Laos to Việt Nam by road) showed they were infected with UK variant B.1.1.7.
The health ministry on Tuesday morning reported a man living in Hà Nội, who was on the same flight as two Chinese experts, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Associate Professor Trần Đắc Phu, a senior advisor at the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, said a case deemed to have had close contact with an infected person on a flight is someone sitting within two rows of that person. The man in Hà Nội indeed sat two rows from the two Chinese experts.
The environment on the plane is an enclosed space. If passengers do not strictly comply with protective measures, the risk of infection is high, he said.
Việt Nam has reported flight attendants infected with COVID-19. It is compulsory for passengers to wear masks on the plane, but sometimes they take off the masks. Coughing, talking, and sneezing on the place can spread the virus. Pathogens can be found on the surfaces of chairs and toilet door knobs. If a person touches those surfaces then touches their eyes, nose or mouth, they can be infected, he said.
In a related move, seven provinces and cities in Viet Nam have closed schools from Tuesday amid the high risk of COVID-19 community infection.
Children at kindergarten and students at primary, secondary and high schools in Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Hưng Yên have been off from schools since Tuesday until further notice after community cases were detected in these areas.
Most universities in Hà Nội have turned to distance learning.
Schools in Yên Bái City, Nghĩa Lộ Town, Văn Chấn and Trấn Yên districts of northern Yên Bái Province and Hà Nam Province will remain shut until May 9.
Schools in Vĩnh Phúc Province will be closed until May 8. — VNS