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PM orders strict punishment for violations of COVID-19 prevention rules

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested strict punishment for violations of COVID-19 prevention rules committed by individuals and organisations, which had resulted in infections in the community recently.

At a meeting of the Government on pandemic prevention work on December 1, Ho Chi Minh City officials reported that since November 28, four COVID-19 cases had been detected in the city, starting with patient 1342 who is a flight attendant of Vietnam Airlines. While staying in a Vietnam Airlines’ quarantine facility, he had close contact with a person who was later confirmed to be infected with the disease.

After testing negative twice for SARS-CoV-2, patient 1342 was allowed to return to his accommodation for further quarantine, where he had close contact with three persons, one is his mother and the other two his friends. When patient 1342 was confirmed to be positive for SARS-CoV-2, the friends were also tested, and one of them tested positive, becoming patient No.1347. However, before being detected, he continued to meet many others, and so far two others have been confirmed to get the virus.

The city has traced people who had direct and indirect contact with patient 1347, and put all in quarantine. Among 513 people traced down, 99 are F1 cases. Of them, 81 tested negative to the virus causing COVID-19 and 18 others are waiting for test results.

Speaking at the event, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the epidemiological investigation showed that Vietnam Airlines and patient 1342 had seriously violated quarantine regulations.

PM Phuc ordered an investigation into the responsibility of individuals and organisations for the violations, along with strict punishment.

He stressed the need to stay calm and vigilant while continue to seriously following the 5K measures, firstly wearing masks and spraying disinfectants.

Ho Chi Minh City was asked to quickly trace and quarantine F1 and F2 cases to prevent the third wave of community transmissions.

Chairs of people’s committees of cities and provinces must enhance inspection and consult the Health Ministry before receiving foreign guests or those returning from abroad.

At the meeting, the Government leader also agreed to suspend commercial international flights and only run flights carrying home Vietnamese citizens meeting requirements. He directed the Defence Ministry and Ministry of Public Security to closely manage the border and entry-exit activities. 

Ministries, agencies and localities were required to suspend activities gathering large numbers of people, impose social distancing in high-risk areas while the mass media must continue to remind the public about the imminent danger of the pandemic and guide them in prevention measures.

The health sector must cooperate with foreign partners to produce COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use or buy vaccine if necessary./.