Vietnamese man jailed for 18 months for spreading COVID-19

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Vietnam jailed a man for 18 months on Friday for breaking strict COVID-19 quarantine rules, spreading the virus to others and causing financial damage to authorities, state media reported.

Dao Duy Tung, 30, was convicted of "spreading dangerous infectious diseases" at a one-day trial at the People's Court of northern province of Hai Duong, the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

Vietnam has been one of the world's coronavirus success stories, thanks to targeted mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, tight border restrictions and strict quarantine but new clusters of infections in recent weeks have tarnished that record.

"Tung illegally entered Vietnam from Laos on April 22 and breached the 14-day quarantine regulations," the news agency said.

"After having been notified that his contacts in Laos tested positive for the virus, Tung failed to show up at medical facilities to get tested," it added. "Instead, he travelled to other cities, came into contact with many people, and visited several places."

Vietnam has seen record high numbers of daily infections since late April. In all, it has recorded 42,288 infections and 207 deaths.

Hai Duong province, which is adjacent to the capital Hanoi, has reported only 51 cases since late April, much lower than some 22,000 in the country's coronavirus epicentre of Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

Tung's violations caused financial damage of more than 3 billion dong ($130,372.43) to the authorities, according to the VNA report. It did not elaborate nor say how many people Tung had infected.

Calls to the court in Hai Duong were not answered.

Vietnam has spent 21.5 trillion dong ($934.34 million) of its state budget fighting the virus, the government said on Friday. That includes payment for vaccines and equipment and help to people affected by the pandemic, the government said.

In late March, a court sentenced a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant to a two-year suspended jail term on the same charges. 

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