Covid-19 negligence: Hanoians fined for ignoring social distancing campaign

By Pham Du, Gia Chinh, Xuan Hoa   April 5, 2020 | 11:52 pm PT
Covid-19 negligence: Hanoians fined for ignoring social distancing campaign
Three people are fined for going outside unnecessarily in Hanoi during a nationwide social distancing campaign, April 5, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Hoa.
Many Hanoians have been fined for leaving their homes unnecessarily during the nationwide social distancing campaign launched to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Five men in the capital city’s Ha Dong District were fined VND200,000 ($8.5) each on Sunday for leaving their homes in search of a gaming café, while three people in Truc Bach Ward, Ba Dinh District were also fined a similar amount the same day for going fishing and selling flowers, local police said.

The social distancing campaign, announced by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, calls for people to stay home and doesn't allow public gatherings of more than two until April 15. People can only leave their homes for emergencies, buying food and medicine, and working in factories, production facilities and businesses that involve trade in "essential" goods and services.

Many people in the capital city have chosen to ignore the campaign, going outside to exercise and perform other activities. However, police say they find it difficult to establish if someone is outside their house for non-essential purposes.

"It's easy to see if someone's not wearing a mask. This can be fined immediately. But establishing people are outside for essential purposes or not is very difficult. Everyone gives very specific reasons," a Hoan Kiem District police officer said Saturday.

Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung had said at a Friday meeting of the city's Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 that his administration will strictly implement the social distancing campaign and fine violators.

If just a small percentage of the population decide to increase the frequency of going outside, infection rates could rise and affect an even larger percentage of the population, said Chung, citing experts.

Vietnam has recorded 241 Covid-19 cases so far, including one latest case on Sunday. Hanoi, the locality with the highest number of Covid-19 patients, has recorded 107 cases so far.

Among the current 150 active cases in the country, half have tested negative at least once.

The global death toll in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has climbed to more than 69,500.

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