|COVID-19 Patient No.1,440, 33-year-old L.T.T. — Photo from Facebook|
VĨNH LONG — Police in the Mekong Delta Province of Vĩnh Long said on Tuesday they have launched legal proceedings against COVID-19 Patient No.1,440 for having illegally entered the country while carrying the virus late last year.
The 33-year-old man, whose name was given as L.T.T., was charged for the crime of “spreading dangerous contagious diseases for humans,” according to Huỳnh Thanh Mộng, deputy director of the Vĩnh Long police.
However, T. was still being treated for COVID-19 so the investigation is facing a number of difficulties, Mộng said.
Dr Hồ Thị Thu Hằng, deputy director of Vĩnh Long’s health department, said that Patient 1,440 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 eleven times since he was first confirmed to be infected with the virus. The results came back negative on the 12th test, but the next test yielded positive results again.
On the morning of December 24, T. – originally from Nhơn Phú Commune, Mang Thít District, Vĩnh Long Province – crossed into Việt Nam via the Cambodia-Việt Nam land border at a river area identified near An Phú District, An Giang Province, then boarded a car with five other illegal entrants – three of which were later confirmed to have COVID-19 – to return to their hometown.
T. said he had paid VNĐ50 million (about US$2,170) to a group who claimed they could bring Vietnamese citizens into the country without having to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine as per COVID-19 prevention and control policies.
His own mother reportedly was the one to notify the local health authorities of his illegal arrival, and T. was immediately brought to a centralised quarantine facility and tested for COVID-19.
Nguyễn Thị Quyên Thanh, Vice Chair of Vĩnh Long Province People’s Committee, said that in this case, the mother’s good sense had helped the disease prevention and control efforts as hundreds of people considered to have come into contacts with these illegal entrants had been put into quarantine.
He was confirmed positive for the virus on December 26.
On January 8, An Giang Province announced they had detained three men alleged to have arranged the illegal entry of Patient 1,440 and others. — VNS