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HCMC to fine those without masks in public places
The Saigon Times
Friday,  Mar 27, 2020,14:48 (GMT+7)

HCMC to fine those without masks in public places

The Saigon Times

People wear face masks in downtown HCMC due to the novel coronavirus outbreak – PHOTO: THANH HOA

HCMC – HCMC, the country’s most populous city, plans to fine individuals who do not wear face masks in public places due to heightened concerns over the acceleration of the coronavirus’ spread, said city leaders at a meeting on Thursday.

HCMC Party Committee Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan said the city government is determined not to let foreign nationals increase imported cases. Also, Vietnamese people who return home from abroad are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Limiting travel and forcing people to wear face masks are two key steps the municipal government is taking to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Nhan.

He added that the municipal Department of Heath must identify brands of high-quality face masks for the public, while local authorities must release a list of places that sell them.

The city’s Party chief noted that wearing a face mask and keeping a safe physical distance from other people are the simplest and most effective disease prevention measures available.

“Covid-19 is more dangerous than an enemy since (it does not follow) rules. In Europe and the United States, people wearing face masks may face discrimination, but we do not have that culture. This is a favorable measure for fighting the pandemic,” he said.

Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom were late in preventing coronavirus outbreaks and are suffering serious consequences. By contrast, Japan and South Korea had strong and quick responses, so they have achieved positive outcomes in their fight against the disease, according to the official.

He pointed out that the two Asian countries have denied entry to foreigners, quickly tested people suspected of having Covid-19 and shut down crowded places. Those suspected of having the virus were told to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The coming weeks will be a critical period, Nhan remarked, adding that it would be ideal if Vietnam could keep the number of infections below 500.

He cited statistics from 10 countries, noting that the number of people infected with the disease reached 100 within a month but could later increase to 1,000 within 10 days.

The city’s chairman, Nguyen Thanh Phong, said the city government had accepted short-term economic losses in the face of the pandemic.

He asked 24 districts to abide by the prime minister’s instructions to prevent gatherings of over 20 people, impose fines on people who fail to wear face masks in public and shut down service facilities, except for food stores, supermarkets and healthcare facilities.

The municipal Party chief Nhan said all the local State employees will have their extra income halved this year. The move is meant to provide some VND1 million in aid per person for some 600,000 people who may lose their jobs and have no income.

The number of coronavirus infections in Vietnam has surged to 153 since early this month, according to the Ministry of Health.

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