The human to human transmission to "the F3 generation" introduces new uncertainties in the spread and tackling of the epidemic, he adds.
The infant in Vinh Phuc Province, 40 km from Hanoi, was confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus Tuesday morning.
It is said that she got the infection from her grandmother, who had caught it after direct contact with her 23-year-old cousin, one of eight employees of a company who returned to Hanoi January 17 after two months of training in China’s Wuhan City, the epicenter of the epidemic.
Six of the workers have been infected and four of them have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals. The two remaining workers are awaiting test results.
"This shows that the virus transmission has jumped to the F3 generation, with new transmission patterns and characteristics," said Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Medical Examination and Treatment Management Department under the Ministry of Health.
He explained that the grandmother was the F2 generation and her cousin, the F1 generation.
Khue said it is still not clear what the implication of the latest transmission is, whether the virulence will decrease or increase.
"We cannot tell anything for now, everything is still new to us," he said.
Tran Minh Dien, deputy director of the National Children's Hospital in Hanoi, concurred with this view.
"We have to rely on the clinical condition of the baby to make further assumptions about how the virus has developed," he said.
The grandmother, 42, met with the returning worker during the Lunar New Year holiday in late January. She was confirmed infected on February 4.
On January 28, the infant had been taken to the grandmother’s house in the province’s Binh Xuyen Town. Doctors say the virus might have been transmitted to the child then.
The baby has been quarantined for treatment at Binh Xuan medical center in Vinh Phuc. Her mother is allowed to stay with her. The mother, who is healthy but also awaiting test results, will follow the protocol approved by the health ministry in taking care of the child.
"Experts from the National Children's Hospital will be sent to Binh Xuyen to support this baby’s treatment. In case her condition gets worse, she will be transferred to city- and central-level managed hospitals but for now, she’s in stable condition," Khue said.
He also said that the arrangements for quarantining and treating nCov infected patients in Vietnam were "totally reasonable" in having district-level hospitals manage and quarantine those suspected infected with the virus, as well as receive and treat those infected.
City and central-level medical facilities will only enter the picture if the patients are in critical condition. needing more complicated treatment procedures.
Such arrangement would allow early detection, timely quarantine and treatment, limiting the possibility of death and more infections, Khue said.
The health ministry has prepared enough beds and ventilators to serve patients suffering from respiratory failure.
The ministry said last week that Vietnam has taken tight control measures and is confident of fighting the novel coronavirus (nCoV), and people should not worry too much or stock up on food and other essentials.
Khue said the public should stay calm and follow all the guidelines on healthcare and personal hygiene from the ministry and should not be confused by rumors and unverified information.
The three-month-old baby is the 15th nCoV infection in Vietnam, with Vinh Phuc accounting for 10 of them.
Of the patients, six have been discharged.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the global nCoV death toll had crossed 1,000 and confirmed infections risen to over 43,100, of whom over 4,000 had recovered.
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