Vietnam jails man who broke Covid quarantine rules for 5 years

·2-min read
A quiet intersection in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during the strict Covid-19 lockdown (Bui Van Lanh/ AP)
A quiet intersection in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during the strict Covid-19 lockdown (Bui Van Lanh/ AP)

A Vietnamese man was sentenced to five years in prison for spreading Covid-19 after he breached strict home quarantine rules.

Le Van Tri was convicted of "spreading dangerous infectious diseases to other people" at a one-day trial at the People's Court of Ca Mau. The 28-year-old was accused of breaching a 21-day home quarantine rule upon his return from Ho Chi Minh City in July when he tested positive for the coronavirus.

"Tri's breach of the home medical quarantine regulation led to many people becoming infected with Covid-19 and one person died on 7 August 2021," the court report stated.

Mr Tri allegedly infected eight people, one of whom died due to the virus after one month of treatment, the state-run Vietnam News Agency reported.

Earlier, the country sentenced a 32-year old man to 18 months in prison and a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant two-year jail term for the same charges.

The south Asian country once successful in battling Covid-19 with extensive contact tracing and quarantine is now struggling to curtail the spread of the virus. Driven by the high contagious Delta variant of the virus, Vietnam witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases in late April.

According to the World Health Organisation, Vietnam has recorded over 524,300 cases of infection and more than 13,000 related deaths since the onset of the pandemic.

At least 50 per cent of the cases were registered from the country's largest city Ho Chi Minh, which is under a total lockdown since 23 August. Newly-elected prime minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered mass testing for the citizens and deployed soldiers to enforce the quarantine orders.

Mr Chinh on Sunday said that Vietnam is preparing to safely adapt to life amid the pandemic once the vaccination goal is achieved. The government has set a target to vaccinate 70 per cent of its 96 million population by next year. However, it has so far managed to vaccinate only over 3.1 million people with both doses.

"We understand the difficulties that businesses and the people face, so we could strive to bring the country back into a new normal," he said.

Restrictions in the capital Hanoi has been extended for another two weeks, with a mass testing drive in place. All non-essential activities have been barred for the city's 8 million residents since July. Hanoi has been divided the city into "red", "orange" and "green" zones based on infection risk.

The Chinh government aims to bring down the surge in cases by 15 September.

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