Vietnam on January 2 identified its first Covid-19 case infected with the newly-found, highly-contagious variant discovered in the UK.

The patient was a 45-year-old Vietnamese woman repatriated from the UK on a flight landing at Can Tho International Airport on December 22 but who was quarantined on arrival.

The flight had 305 passengers on board, 147 of whom were quarantined in Tra Vinh province, 137 in Vinh Long province, 17 in Can Tho city and four in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute has conducted genetic sequencing on the six Covid-19-positive cases detected among the 305 arrivals and Patient No 1,435 was found to have been infected with the new strain of SARS-CoV-2.

The woman has a 10-year history of high blood pressure.

Prior to her return to Vietnam, her health was reportedly stable.

One day after being placed under quarantine, typical Covid-19 symptoms like sore throat and light fever developed and her specimens were sent to lab for testing.

The results came back positive on December 24 and she was moved to Tra Vinh province’s Hospital for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.

As of December 31, the patient only suffered from light coughing, but no sore throat or breathing difficulties, while X-ray scans show mild damages to her lungs.

Her husband, who is currently in the UK, has also tested positive for the virus.

Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute has asked the health ministry for further guidelines in research and anti-epidemiological responses.

The new coronavirus variant, first detected in the UK and thought to be responsible for the rise in cases in the country, is deemed to be much more transmissible than other variants but does not seem to be resulting in more serious or deadlier diseases, and approved Covid-19 vaccines could still be effective against it.

Other than Vietnam, 33 countries have reported infections with the variant, mostly among recent arrivals from the UK.