A court in Vietnam has sentenced a man to five years in prison for breaking strict COVID-19 quarantine rules and spreading the virus to others.
Le Van Tri, 28, was convicted on Monday of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases” at a one-day trial at the People’s Court of the southern province of Ca Mau, the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
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Vietnam has been one of the world’s coronavirus success stories thanks to targeted mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, tight border restrictions, and strict quarantine. But new clusters of infections since late April have tarnished that record.
“Tri travelled back to Ca Mau from Ho Chi Minh City … and breached the 21-day quarantine regulations,” VNA said.
“Tri infected eight people, one of whom died due to the virus after one month of treatment,” it added.
The country has sentenced two other people to 18-month and two-year suspended jail terms on the same charges.
Ca Mau, Vietnam’s southernmost province, has reported only 191 cases and two deaths since the pandemic began, much lower than the nearly 260,000 cases and 10,685 deaths in the country’s coronavirus epicentre, Ho Chi Minh City.
Driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, Vietnam’s fourth wave began on April 27. At the time, only 35 people had died of COVID-19, while the total number of infections stood just below 4,000. Today, there are more than 13,000 deaths, while case numbers top 520,000.
About 80 percent of deaths and half the infections have occurred in the country’s largest city Ho Chi Minh City.
Home to nine million people, Ho Chi Minh City has been under a total lockdown since August 23, with residents forbidden from leaving their homes even to shop for food.
With the restrictions set to last until September 15, newly elected Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered mass testing for the city’s residents and deployed soldiers to enforce the stay at home orders and help with the delivery of food.