Three people became the first in Hanoi to be fined for leaving the house for non-essential reasons on Sunday morning, pursuant to this week’s order by the capital city’s chairman barring people from going outside under unnecessary circumstances to staunch novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Each of the three was required to pay VND200,000 (US$8.5) in administrative penalties as they went out in Truc Bach Ward, Ba Dinh District, an official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
They were fined in accordance with a government decree issued in 2013, detailing penalties for those breaching regulations on infectious diseases.
“One of the three resides in the ward while the other two live elsewhere,” the official said.
“One went out to sell flowers and the remaining two went fishing.
“All three complied, paid the fine, and promised to adhere to guidelines to prevent COVID-19 transmission.”
Truc Bach is the first ward in Hanoi to have fined people for leaving their home for non-essential reasons.
The ward’s officials said that they would continue asking residents to stay home, except for essential trips outside.
Police have patrolled many streets in the capital to remind locals of not leaving the house for no justifiable reason.
Hanoi’s chairman Nguyen Duc Chung on Friday ordered that authorities fine anyone going outside under unncessary circumstances, at a time when Vietnam practices social distancing between April 1 and 15.
“Fine all those people!” he emphasized at a meeting on COVID-19 prevention.
“If people keep going out and only ten percent of the population fail to comply, the social distancing measure will fall through,” Chung said.
Citizens can go out for food, medicine, and emergency care, however.
Hanoi is exerting all efforts to stall the virus spread during the social distancing, which Chung said would decide the result of the city’s battle against the disease.
The municipal Department of Justice has detailed fines for those breaking rules on COVID-19 control, ranging from VND300,000 ($12.7) to VND20 million ($850).
The capital is Vietnam’s largest epicenter, with 103 infections, including 65 active cases.
The Vietnamese government believes that anyone possibly carrying the virus in the country will show symptoms during this physical distancing period, for Vietnam has already halted inbound flights, denied entry to all foreigners, and quarantined infected patients, their close contacts, as well as those exposed to the pathogen.
Vietnam has reported 240 COVID-19 patients so far, with 90 having recovered, according to data collected by Tuoi Tre.
No fatality has been recorded as yet.
The country has announced no new cases as of Sunday afternoon.