The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Public Security on Monday initiated legal proceedings against a flight attendant, who was COVID-19 patient 1,342, for “spreading dangerous infectious disease to others.”
The legal proceedings were launched against D.T.H., a 28-year-old flight attendant with Vietnam Airlines, according to Vietnam’s penal code.
H. is also currently prohibited from leaving his residence.
According to preliminary investigations, the man returned to Vietnam from Japan on flight VN5301 on November 14, 2020 and was quarantined at a facility managed by Vietnam Airlines at 115 Hong Ha Street in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City from November 14 to 18.
When staying at the quarantine center, the flight attendant came into contact with his colleague, patient 1,325, who was also put in quarantine there, but in a different isolation area.
As H.’s first two tests for the virus while at the quarantine facility returned negative, the flight attendant was let go to self-isolate at home, as per regulations.
H. hosted a male friend during the self-quarantine at his home against quarantine guidelines.
The flight attendant also visited several public places, including his university, and came into contact with many others during that period.
H. was registered as patient 1,342 on November 29.
The friend who stayed with him was confirmed as patient 1,347 on November 30.
Two other individuals who had been in direct contact with the friend were then confirmed as patients 1,348 and 1,349 on December 1.
The Ho Chi Minh City police on December 3 announced that they decided to launch a criminal investigation into the case related to H., on the charge of “spreading dangerous infectious disease to others.”
The city’s chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong criticized H.’s behavior breaching quarantine rules for COVID-19 prevention and control, allegedly leading to the spread of the disease and causing serious consequences to the community.
Phong suggested not only a criminal investigation into the case but also legal proceedings against the flight attendant “to show an exemplary punishment.”
Police officers also determined the responsibilities of relevant organizations and individuals in the case.
Vietnam’s penal code regulates that a person accused of “spreading dangerous infectious disease to others” may be subject to a charge of one to 12 years in prison.
Regarding H.’s health condition, he was confirmed to have recovered from COVID-19 on December 22, after testing negative for the coronavirus, and went to practice 14-day quarantine as per regulations.
Patients 1,347, 1,348, and 1,349 also tested negative for the virus and underwent quarantine for 14 more days.
In relation to these four domestic infections, a total of 3,263 people were tested for COVID-19, with their results all returning negative.
Vietnam had gone 88 days without an infection in the community before patient 1,347’s diagnosis.
The national tally has reached 1,515 patients as of Tuesday afternoon, with 1,361 recoveries and 35 virus-related deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.