Vietnamese man jailed for 5 years for spreading coronavirus

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Vietnam jailed a man on Monday for five years for breaking strict COVID-19 quarantine rules and spreading the virus to others, state media reported.

Le Van Tri, 28, was convicted of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases” at a one-day trial at the People’s Court of the southern province of Ca Mau, 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 since late April have tarnished that record.

“Tri travelled back to Ca Mau from Ho Chi Minh City … and breached the 21-day quarantine regulations,” the news agency said.

“Tri infected eight people, one of whom died due to the virus after one month of treatment,” it added.

Reuters did not immediately reach the Ca Mau court for comment.

Ca Mau, Vietnam’s southernmost province, has reported only 191 cases and two deaths since the pandemic began, much lower than the nearly 260,000 cases and 10,685 deaths in the country’s coronavirus epicentre, Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is battling a worsening COVID-19 outbreak that has infected more than 536,000 people and killed 13,385, the vast majority in the past few months.

The country has sentenced two other people to 18-month and two-year suspended jail terms on the same charges.