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Vietnam suspends flights from South Africa, UK over Covid mutations

Vietnam on Tuesday suspended flights from countries with cases of new Covid-19 variants.

The communist nation, which has won praise for its handling of the pandemic, said flights from the UK and South Africa would be affected first.

The health and transport ministries will later decide if flights from elsewhere need to be banned, according to a prime minister’s directive.

The two new variants, which are potentially far more infectious versions of the virus, first emerged in the UK and South Africa.

Covid cases in Britain have soared in recent weeks, forcing the government to impose tighter restrictions in a desperate attempt to curb infection rates.

But Vietnam — with a population of 96 million — has recorded just 1504 cases and 35 deaths thanks to mass quarantines, extensive contact-tracing and strict controls on movement.

Most inbound commercial flights have been suspended since March but Vietnamese citizens stuck abroad and some foreigners have been allowed to enter.