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10,000 face masks seized near Ho Chi Minh City airport

Thursday, April 09, 2020, 11:35 GMT+7
10,000 face masks seized near Ho Chi Minh City airport
Police officers examine a pickup truck carrying 10,000 face masks of unclear origin at the exit of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in this supplied photo.

Traffic police in Ho Chi Minh City released a statement on Wednesday stating that they had seized an undeclared shipment of 10,000 face masks near Tan Son Nhat International Airport. 

A novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) task force under Ho Chi Minh City’s Road and Rail Police division (PC08) was patrolling near an exit of Tan Son Nhat’s domestic terminal on Wednesday afternoon when they pulled over a pickup truck carrying several unmarked boxes containing thousands of face masks.

The driver, 51-year-old Nguyen Trong Thanh from Hanoi, was unable to produce proof of purchase or a certificate of origin for the face masks.

The task force promptly informed the market surveillance unit of Tan Binh District to cooperate in handling the case.

The delegation of authorities booked the incident and sealed the batch of face masks, as well as escorted the driver and the truck to the headquarters of Tan Binh District's market surveillance agency.

The number of face masks seized from the vehicle was later revealed to be 10,000.

Vietnam has issued regulations making it mandatory for all citizens to wear face masks while outdoors and has warned of fines for those who disobey. 

The administration of Ho Chi Minh City on March 27 issued an official directive outlining the penalties for those who fail to comply with measures enacted to prevent and control COVID-19, including a VND100,000-300,000 (US$4.3-12.9) fine for face mask wearing violations.

The country is practicing nationwide social distancing, which began on April 1 and is scheduled to end on April 15.  

Thursday morning marks the first 24-hour period in several weeks that the country has gone without announcing a new COVID-19 infection.

Vietnam’s tally currently stands at 251 total cases with 126 having fully recovered and no deaths.


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