Suspended jail sentence for Vietnam Airlines Covid-19 spreader

By Hai Duyen   March 30, 2021 | 12:12 am PT
Suspended jail sentence for Vietnam Airlines Covid-19 spreader
Duong Tan Hau at the HCMC People's Court, March 30, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen.
A Vietnam Airlines flight attendant in Ho Chi Minh City was handed a two-year suspended sentence Tuesday for spreading Covid-19 to three others.

Duong Tan Hau, 29, was charged with spreading a dangerous infectious disease, according to HCMC People's Court. Due to his good record and cooperation with authorities, among other factors, he was allowed a suspended sentence.

Hau entered Vietnam from Japan on Nov. 14 last year and quarantined at a facility managed by Vietnam Airlines in Tan Binh District from Nov. 14 to 18. But Hau eventually made contact with two others in the zone, who were later confirmed infected with the coronavirus, despite quarantine protocols not allowing crew members to contact each other.

After testing negative twice, Hau entered self-isolation at an apartment in the same district on Nov. 18. During this period, he met friends and participated in a contest at a HCMC university. Among the people who he made contact with was a male teacher at a local English center, who was later confirmed infected with the virus, which he then in turn spread to two more people.

Hau tested positive on Nov. 28. The damage he caused by spreading the disease in the community was estimated at VND4.475 billion ($193,870), including testing and quarantining fees, the court heard.

In court, Hau acknowledged his crime, but said spreading the disease had not been his intent. Therefore, he believed he should not have to be criminally charged.

"I was too confident of not being infected after testing negative twice. I’ve seen my mistake and would like to apologize to the three others infected and the entire community," Hau said.

Hau is the first case in Vietnam where flouting Covid-19 prevention regulations is treated as a crime, but he was not the last. Two others, a man in Mekong Delta’s Vinh Long Province who illegally entered Vietnam and a woman in northern Hai Duong Province who did not declare her travel itinerary nor who she came in contact with, are also being probed on the same charge.

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