Da Nang hotel fined paltry sum for hiding 16 Chinese nationals

By Nguyen Dong   February 12, 2020 | 10:00 pm PT
Da Nang hotel fined paltry sum for hiding 16 Chinese nationals
Foreign tourists wear face maska in Da Nang, central Vietnam, in early February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
Da Nang police say a hotel fined for withholding information on Chinese guests who should’ve been quarantined has got away very lightly.

The hotel in question was fined for not reporting that it was hosting 16 Chinese who should have been quarantined over the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The Van Xuan Hotel on Vo Nguyen Giap Street in Da Nang’s Son Tra District was fined VND3 million ($130) on Wednesday.

Colonel Phan Minh Man, head of the district's police department, said the fine was for not providing guest information to the police as required.

He said the penalty was not strong enough, because even if the police had found 1,000 Chinese hiding in the hotel, the fine would have been the same.

On February 8, the immigration office under Da Nang’s police department and Son Tra police detected the 16 Chinese staying in the hotel without their presence being reported to the authorities.

All the 16 visitors had come as tourists. None of them had come from Wuhan City of Hubei Province, the epicenter of the epidemic.

Two of them entered Vietnam on January 27, the third day of the Lunar New Year, and the rest came to the country before the holiday began.

As the coronavirus crisis kept worsening in China during the holiday, the group decided to hide themselves in Da Nang instead of returning to their home country.

According to local authorities, all 16 Chinese are in stable health condition and none of them has run a fever or developed a cough.

"It’s lucky that none of them had contracted the virus," Colonel Man said.

On February 3, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered that all Vietnamese and foreigners entering Vietnam from China must be quarantined for 14 days.

The order applied to everyone who had passed by 31 provinces in China that have reported the new coronavirus infection.

Vietnam had declared the novel coronavirus outbreak an epidemic on February 1.

So far, the country has confirmed 16 infections, seven of whom have been discharged from hospitals.

As of Thursday morning, the death toll from the epidemic had reached 1,369 people, two of them outside mainland China.

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