A Man Was Jailed for Five Years After Spreading COVID-19 in Vietnam

He infected eight people, one of whom died.
Ameya Paleja

Countries in the West are showering incentives on people to get vaccinated against coronavirus. In sharp contrast, a Vietnam court wants to deal with an iron fist and has handed a 28-year-old man five years prison sentence for spreading the disease, Reuters reported

With a population of 98 million, the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam had managed the pandemic quite well until early this year. While infections peaked and waned everywhere else, Vietnam recorded single-digit cases throughout the country. According to the Reuters report, mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, tight border restrictions, and strict quarantine rules have been the pillars of the strong response. It seems only natural that the court would come down heavily on those who would flout these norms and lead to a rise in infections. 

In early July, 28-year-old, Le Van Tri traveled from the capital city of Ho Chi Minh city to his native province, Ca Mau, in the southern region. On his arrival, Tri lied about his travel history and failed to isolate himself for 21 days, as mandated by the regional authorities, BBC reported.

Since May 2021, densely populated, Ho Chi Minh City has been the epicenter of new infections caused by the Delta variant. Tri later tested positive for COVID and also transmitted the disease to eight people, including his family and members of a local welfare center. One among those succumbed to the virus, after a month-long treatment, local media reported. 

At a one-day trial in the local court of the Ca Mau region, Tri was convicted of "spreading dangerous infectious diseases" and handed a five-year prison sentence. According to the BBC, Tri was also fined 20 million Vietnamese Dong, equivalent to US$880. Earlier in March, a separate court had imprisoned a flight attendant for two years for a similar offense, Reuters had then reported. 

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Ho Chi Minh City is currently under a total lockdown with residents not allowed to leave homes even for food. Hospitals are overwhelmed and the Army has been deployed to help facilitate delivery of food among reported shortages, Al-Jazeera reported. The vaccination coverage in the country stands at 2.8 percent. 

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