The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City on Friday afternoon issued an official directive on penalizing people for failure to comply with measures to prevent and control the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including not wearing face masks in public.
According to the directive, which was made based on a 2013 government decree stipulating administrative penalties for violations in the medical field, people who do not wear face masks in public in the southern metropolis will be fined VND100,000-300,000 (US$4.3-12.9).
Chairpeople of district-level People's Committees and the director of the municipal health department shall guide authorities, civil servants, public health officials, and competent agencies in implementing the directive.
The Vietnamese government has required that people wear face masks at crowded public places like airports, bus stations, and supermarkets, since March 14.
On Friday, a woman in Hanoi was fined VND200,000 ($8.6) by authorities in Hoan Kiem District for not wearing a face mask while at a crowded public area.
In addition, the Ho Chi Minh City directive also mandates fines for a number of other violations related to COVID-19 prevention and control.
Specifically, organizations and individuals that fail to comply with the requested suspension of business operations and restrictions on large gatherings are subject to fines between VND5 million and VND10 million ($214.84-429.68).
People who are subject to mandatory home quarantine but fail to do so will be forced into isolation at centralized facilities.
At this stage, if the persons in question resists the quarantine order, they shall be fined between VND2 million and VND5 million ($85.94-214.84).
Criminal proceedings can be launched against individuals who show signs of criminal violations in dodging quarantine.
People who spread false information and fake news that cause public confusion, commit commercial frauds, hoard essential items such as face masks and hand sanitizer, or illegally raise prices of goods during the COVID-19 epidemic will also be punished as per regulations.
The novel coronavirus has infected nearly 597,300 people and killed more than 27,300 around the world as of Saturday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics. More than 133,300 patients have recovered.
Ho Chi Minh City has reported 46 COVID-19 patients, three of whom have recovered and been discharged from the hospital.
Nationwide, 169 cases of novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed so far, with 21 having walked out of the hospital free of the virus as of Saturday.
No death related to the disease has been recorded in the country.