HCMC fines citizens $1,000 for not wearing masks

By Ha An   April 28, 2021 | 01:23 am PT
HCMC fines citizens $1,000 for not wearing masks
A man in HCMC is given a face mask for free by a member of a patrol team. Photo by VnExpress/Ha An.
Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday fined 12 people VND24 million ($1,040) for not wearing masks in public.

At a restaurant on Huynh Van Banh Street of Phu Nhuan District, three employees and one customer were found not wearing masks and fined VND2 million each.

Six people at the September 23 Park near the Ben Thanh Market of District 1 were also fined for the same reason.

That same morning, a patrol team called on local residents to wear masks, keep their distances and medically declare themselves, adding those who refuse could be fined up to VND3 million. Those without masks would be provided ones for free by ward authorities.

"Authorities patrol the streets daily reminding people to wear masks," said Ta Hoang Su, deputy chairman of Ben Nghe People’s Committee, adding the ward had fined five people on Nguyen Hue pedestrian street earlier this year for a total VND10 million.

At a meeting with the HCMC Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control on April 26, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong requested authorities to ramp up patrols to prevent Covid-19 infection. Those who suffer respiratory symptoms are not allowed in public, he added.

This is not the first time HCMC has fined people without masks in public. In October last year, the southern metropolis fined over 4,000 for failing to do so, for a total VND316 million.

Despite having not recorded any Covid-19 community transmission in over a month, Vietnam is facing a heightened risk of new coronavirus outbreaks due to surges in the number of infections in its neighbors Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Cambodia has been in the grip of a new wave since late February. Its caseload has crossed 11,000, after recording only around 400 cases in the whole of last year.

The Laos government last Friday closed the country’s borders and announced a two-week lockdown of capital Vientiane. On Monday, there were 113 new cases, the highest single-day tally. There were another 75 on Tuesday, which took the total number so far to 511.

Thailand reported 2,179 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the fifth straight day it recorded more than 2,000 daily cases, bringing the total to 59,687 since the pandemic started. The country had less than 7,000 cases detected throughout 2020.

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