The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment has been rebuked for issuing a document about the cremation of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients who are likely to be killed by the virus, which has sparked a scare and concern among the public.
The municipal People’s Committee on Saturday criticized the environmental department for problems relating to its document No. 2285.
On March 26, the department sent the document to the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Environment Company, Dien Phuc Thanh House Trading and Construction Company, and Long Co Investment JSC.
The paper was signed by Nguyen Thi Thanh My, deputy director of the department.
In the document, the agency mentioned cremation when there are COVID-19 patients who are in a critical condition and probably to be killed by the disease.
It asked the three companies to make reports on the maximum capacity of their cremation facilities in case of continuous operations, cremation procedures, isolation measures to prevent the process from affecting the community, and response plans if employees at the cremation facilities are infected with COVID-19.
The information has been spread on social media and caused a lot of panic among the public.
The city’s administration stated in another document on Saturday evening that it had not directed the environmental department to issue any of such information.
“The issuance of document No. 2285 has affected anti-epidemic efforts in Ho Chi Minh City and caused a lot of panic among the public,” the administration said.
"We severely reprimand the department."
The environmental department was required to identify those responsible and propose suitable disciplinary action to be imposed upon them.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 664,200 people and killed more than 30,800 globally as of Sunday afternoon, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
Vietnam has announced 179 COVID-19 patients so far, with 21 having been discharged from the hospital by Saturday.
No fatality related to the disease has been reported in the country to date.