Hanoi airport to cease international arrivals as Covid-19 cases rise

HANOI, May 31 (dpa): Hanoi's Noi Bai International airport will stop receiving international arrivals as the nation faces a worsening coronavirus outbreak, state media said on Monday.

New arrivals will be stopped until at least June 7, although outbound flights will continue as normal, according to online newspaper VnExpress.

Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport has also stopped inbound international flights. On Sunday, the city's officials imposed a two-week period of social distancing starting from Monday for the first time since April 2020.

The decision was made after the city found more than 100 new virus cases linked to the Christian mission cluster that first emerged on Wednesday, with the source of transmission unknown.

Vietnam has been praised for its response to the pandemic, yet, after a month without any community transmission of the virus, local transmission cases emerged again on April 27, with more than 4,000 cases reported since then.

The Ministry of Health on Saturday said it had detected a new Covid-19 variant comprising characteristics from both the British and Indian strains of the virus.

Nguyen Thanh Long, Vietnam's minister of health, said the new hybrid variant, which is highly transmissible through air, was detected through genetic sequencing on Covid-19 patients in Vietnam.

Vietnam has officially recorded 7,168 coronavirus cases and 47 deaths since the pandemic began. - dpa

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