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Saigon property manager probed for taking roundabout flights to dodge COVID-19 quarantine

Saigon property manager probed for taking roundabout flights to dodge COVID-19 quarantine

Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 12:58 GMT+7
Saigon property manager probed for taking roundabout flights to dodge COVID-19 quarantine
An officer inspects motorcyclists at a COVID-19 checkpoint south of Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Truong Trung / Tuoi Tre

Authorities in Da Nang City have investigated a real estate director from Ho Chi Minh City for avoiding COVID-19 quarantine in the central Vietnamese city by covering his original departure location with two flights to and from Hanoi.

Da Nang authorities said on Monday afternoon that four of 17 new COVID-19 cases detected locally in the previous 24 hours were related to another patient in neighboring Quang Nam Province.

The patient is N.T.D., 49, hailing from the Bong Sao residential area in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City and working as a real estate project manager.

D. took flight VN0128 from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang at 12:45 pm on July 4.

At Da Nang International Airport, functional forces informed D. that he would be sent to a concentrated isolation facility as per the regulations for arrivals from virus-hit localities. 

With the excuse that he would return to Ho Chi Minh City the next morning, the man asked to be isolated for one night instead.

D. was then taken to a hotel at 150 Vo Nguyen Giap Street for isolation.

On the morning of July 5, D. actually did not return to Ho Chi Minh City but took flight QH104 to Hanoi at 10:35 am instead. 

On July 6, he then took flight VN171 from Hanoi back to Da Nang at 1:25 pm.

As an arrival from the capital, which was not classified as a virus-stricken locality at that time, D. was able to skip the quarantine in Da Nang before traveling to Hoi An City in Quang Nam and staying at a villa that his company had rented in Tan An Ward in advance.

Tan An Ward authorities made D. perform a medical declaration and not leave the villa for 14 days.

The director developed a fever on July 7, followed by fatigue, a stuffy nose, and headache on July 10.

He contacted the local medical authorities and was taken to Vinh Duc General Hospital in Dien Ban Town to test for COVID-19.

His result returned positive for the coronavirus.

Four members of a family in Da Nang traveling on flight VN171 with D. also tested positive for the pathogen, according to Phan Van Son, deputy chief of the office of the People’s Committee of Da Nang. They have been quarantined at a hotel in the city.

Meanwhile, 112 other contacts of D. tested negative for the virus.

“The municipal authorities have assigned the local police to collaborate with police in Quang Nam to investigate and strictly handle this case before the law for declaring and taking a roundabout route, causing COVID-19 spread,” Son said.

Son added that in order to avoid similar dishonest acts, the local authorities will turn away any arrivals who refuse to follow the requirement of 21-day quarantine and not allow them to stay over as in D.’s case.

Vietnam has been battling a new outbreak with 29,154 local infections recorded in 58 out of 63 provinces and cities since April 27.

Da Nang has reported 270 infections while Quang Nam has logged five patients in this round.

Ho Chi Minh City is currently suffering the worst with 15,141 cases.

The country has confirmed an accumulation of 32,665 infections, including 30,724 community cases, since the pathogen first hit it early last year, according to the health ministry’s data.

Recoveries have risen to 9,331 whereas the death toll has reached 125.

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