|Medical workers in protective suits stand outside a quarantined building amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Hanoi|
HANOI (Reuters) -Authorities in Vietnam have detected a new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Indian and UK COVID-19 variants and spreads quickly by air, the health minister said on Saturday.
After successfully containing the virus for most of last year, Vietnam is grappling with a spike in infections since late April that accounts for more than half of the total 6,713 registered cases. So far, there have been 47 deaths.
"Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK," Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said in a statement.