Five years in jail for false medical declaration on Covid-19

By Xuan Hoa   March 31, 2020 | 07:00 pm GMT+7
Five years in jail for false medical declaration on Covid-19
People fill in health declaration forms upon arriving at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, March 18, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Those making fraudulent medical declarations when returning to Vietnam from Covid-19 stricken areas can be jailed for up to five years.

The declarations have to do with people's statuses as infection suspects or already infected people.

Vietnam’s Supreme People’s Court on Monday asked all civil and military courts across the country to apply Article 240 in the 2015 Penal Code against those escaping quarantine and making false health declarations in the context of the country entering a critical stage in its Covid-19 fight.

Fleeing from quarantine areas or otherwise failing to comply with quarantine regulations will also be treated a criminal offense, and the persons involved will be investigated and dealt with under Article 240 of the 2015 Criminal Code, which deals with "Spreading dangerous infectious diseases among humans." Those found guilty will face a fine of up to VND200 million ($8,470) or a jail term of up to five years.

The stringent move follows a series of recent reports by those returning from pandemic-stricken areas escaping quarantine or making wrong health declarations, sparking public concern over increased risk of spreading the virus among the community.

A 44-year-old woman who worked for the Truong Sinh Company providing food and logistic services to coronavirus-hit Bach Mai Hospital deliberately concealed information of having worked at the hospital's canteen after being hospitalized in Thai Nguyen Province with symptoms of Covid-19 infection. She was confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus on March 29.

So far, 34 out of 207 infection cases in the country are linked with the hospital, making it the nation's largest Covid-19 outbreak.

Earlier, a 26-year-old Hanoian girl, who returned to Vietnam after traveling to epidemic-hit countries in Europe, failed to make a proper health declaration to local authorities. She was confirmed positive for Covid-19 on March 6, four days after her return to Hanoi, and discharged from hospital on Monday.

An American woman who had a cough and fever absconded from her quarantine facility in Da Nang Monday and was brought back the same day. She was later tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, two men returning from Cambodia, another Covid-19 outbreak area, also escaped from quarantine facilities in the southern provinces of Kien Giang and Tay Ninh and were later arrested by police over the weekend.

Those who are not yet confirmed Covid-19 positive but escape from mandated quarantine facilities or refusing to comply with quarantine measures, thereby causing losses of VND100 million or more in costs incurred for disease prevention will be investigated and punished under Article 295 of the 2015 Criminal Code that deals with "violations against regulations of law on occupational safety, occupational hygiene, and safety in crowded areas." Those found guilty face fines of up to VND100 million ($4,235) or jail terms of up to 12 years.

Vietnam has recorded a total of 207 Covid-19 infections, with 56 discharged from hospitals.

Many of the currently active cases are Vietnamese nationals returning from Europe and the U.S., foreigners coming from the same regions and those who’d come in contact with both groups of people.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 37,800 people after spreading to 200 countries and territories so far.

The Vietnam government has ordered a strict social distancing measure starting Wednesday, in which people are restricted from leaving their homes and public gatherings of more than two persons are not allowed.

 
 
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