A Vietnam Airlines flight attendant has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence after being found guilty of breaking Vietnam’s COVID-19 quarantine rules. The person is accused of infecting other people with the deadly virus.
During the one-day trial held earlier today at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, 29-year-old Duong Tan Hau was found guilty of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases,” according to information released in a statement by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.
Hau has returned to Vietnam from Japan
After returning on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Japan, Hau was quarantined at the central quarantine facility in the south of the country. While at the facility, Hau was in contact with Nguyen Tang Hau and Nguyen Tuyet Nhi, who later tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the information posted on a police ministry website that was picked up by Reuters, Hau had not complied with Vietnam’s strict 14-day quarantine rule and had met with 46 people since returning from Japan. As well as meeting with people during a stint in state quarantine, the indictment says that Hau also visited cafes, restaurants and attended English classes.
Hau will be on probation for four years
While not adhering to the self-isolation rules, the court was told that Hau’s actions led to the quarantine and testing of around 2,000 other Ho Chi Minh City city residents at the cost of 4.48 billion dong ($194,192).
Reporting on the case, state media said that Hau had infected at least three people.
“Hau’s violation was serious, put society in danger, and endangered the safety of the community,” the statement said.
After some deliberation by the judicial panel hearing the case, it was decided that Hau had many mitigating circumstances and sentenced him to two years in prison. The decision was then altered to being a two-year suspended sentence and four years of probation. It is worth pointing out that Hau broke Vietnam’s quarantine rules last November before they were tightened in January of this year.
Vietnam has been very successful
Vietnam has successfully handled the pandemic through mass testing and tracing together with strict quarantine rules. When looking at the number of coronavirus cases, Vietnam has had fewer than 2,600 cases and only 35 deaths due to the virus.
In December, the head of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control and Prevention was found guilty of wrongdoing linked to the procurement of COVID-19 equipment. Unlike the suspended sentence given to Hau, he was sentenced to ten years behind bars.
In January, Vietnam tightened its quarantine rules for people arriving in the country to help stop the virus from spreading. All passengers, including airline crews, must now quarantine at a government facility for a minimum of 14 days.
Public transportation is being allowed to operate nationwide, but there are strict precautions in place. Safeguards include the mandatory wearing of face masks and completed health declaration forms.
While we do not know the mitigating circumstances, it would appear as if Hau dodged a bullet as the court could have handed down a stiff sentence to deter others from breaking the quarantine rules.
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