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Virus-wary Vietnam suspends flights from UK and South Africa over new Covid-19 variants

Virus-wary Vietnam suspends flights from UK and South Africa over new Covid-19 variants
Vietnam has suspended inbound flights from the UK and South Africa over new more transmissible variants of Covid-19, with more countries set to have flights blocked, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced on Tuesday.

The Vietnamese Health Ministry had requested on Monday that flights be banned from 34 countries where the new strain, first found in the UK, has been detected.

The government has suspended all incoming commercial flights since March but has been running repatriation flights for citizens stranded abroad.

The new flight ban came after a 44-year-old Vietnamese woman returning home from the UK was found to be infected with the new variant and forced to quarantine in the southern province of Tra Vin, the ministry reported on Saturday.

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More than 50 nations restricted travel from Britain after the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus, which has quickly overtaken other forms of the virus in the UK and prompted new lockdowns.

A variant found in South Africa has also spread in the UK. On Monday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “incredibly worried about” the development.

Vietnam has been lauded in the media and other countries for its swift and aggressive response to the pandemic, with its measures credited with keeping infections and deaths extremely low relative to its population.

The country of 96 million people has recorded 1,504 Covid-19 infections and 35 deaths related to the virus to date.

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