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Ho Chi Minh City tightens face mask rule following detection of local COVID-19 cases

Sunday, December 06, 2020, 19:50 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City tightens face mask rule following detection of local COVID-19 cases
A resident is booked for failure to wear a face mask in public in Ho Chi Minh City, December 4, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Many people in Ho Chi Minh City have recently been booked for failure to wear face masks in public, as authorities tighten COVID-19 prevention and control measures following the detection of several local infections.

In the most recent case, four people were drinking beer on the sidewalk near the Pham Ngu Lao-Nguyen Thi Nghia intersection in District 1 on Friday afternoon when a team of officers arrived and reminded them to put on face masks.

As the officers returned to the location 30 minutes later, three of them were still not complying with the rule and were fined VND2 million (US$86) each.

According to current regulations, failure to wear a face mask in public is punishable by a fine worth VND1-3 million ($43-129).

From December 2 to 4, authorities in Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1 booked nine cases for not wearing face masks in public, said Nguyen Hoang Tam, the ward’s chairman.

“We will continue reminding people to comply with the regulation, and penalize those who violate it, in accordance with directions from the municipal People’s Committee,” Tam stated.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper readers have also voiced their concern over the high risk of COVID-19 transmission at beer parlors on such streets as Pham Van Dong, which runs through Go Vap, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc Districts, where sellers place their tables and chairs on the entire sidewalk.

People drink beer on the sidewalk in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, December 5, 2020. Photo: Huu Huong / Tuoi Tre

People drink beer on the sidewalk in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, December 5, 2020. Photo: Huu Huong / Tuoi Tre

According to Vu Nam Hung, chairman of the administration in Ward 1, Go Vap District, local authorities have been reminding these beer shops to stop encroaching on sidewalk space and to adhere to epidemic prevention measures.

However, they tend to ignore these rules when local authorities are not present, Hung continued.

“After reminding them, we will start imposing stern punishment upon those who continue breaking rules,” the official added.

As of Sunday afternoon, Vietnam has recorded 1,365 COVID-19 cases, with 1,220 having recovered and 35 deaths, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

A local infection was previously detected in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday, after the country had gone for 88 days without documenting any community-based transmission.

Two more patients linked to this case were recorded on Tuesday evening.

All three patients were traced back to a case detected in quarantine, a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who flouted isolation rules and allegedly transmitted the virus to the community.

No new domestic infections have been logged since Wednesday, while all people in direct contact with these cases had tested negative for the virus as of Saturday.

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