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COVID-19 patient charged with 'spreading dangerous disease'

Police in the Mekong Delta Province of Vinh Long announced on January 19 that they have launched legal proceedings against COVID-19 Patient No.1,440 for having illegally entered the country while carrying the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 late last year.

The 33-year-old man, whose name was given as L.T.T., was charged for the crime of “spreading dangerous contagious diseases for humans,” according to Col. Huynh Thanh Mong, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Public Security.

However, T. was still being treated for COVID-19 so the investigation is facing a number of difficulties, Mong said.

On the morning of December 24, T. – originally from Nhon Phu commune, Mang Thit district, Vinh Long province – crossed into Vietnam via the Cambodia-Vietnam land border at a river area identified near An Phu district, An Giang province, then boarded a car with five other illegal entrants – three of which were later confirmed to have COVID-19 – to return to their hometown.

T. said he had paid 50 million VND (about 2,170 USD) to a group who claimed they could bring Vietnamese citizens into the country without having to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine as per COVID-19 prevention and control policies.

His own mother reportedly was the one to notify the local health authorities of his illegal arrival, and T. was immediately brought to a centralised quarantine facility and tested for COVID-19.

Nguyen Thi Quyen Thanh, Vice Chairwoman of the Vinh Long Provincial People’s Committee, said that in this case, the mother’s good sense had helped the disease prevention and control efforts as hundreds of people considered to have come into contacts with these illegal entrants had been put into quarantine. He was confirmed positive for the virus on December 26.

On January 8, An Giang province’s police announced they had detained three men alleged to have arranged the illegal entry of Patient 1,440 and others./