The accused, Le Van Tri, was charged with “spreading dangerous infectious diseases to people,” a crime which carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison if it results in the death of at least one person under Vietnam’s criminal code.
Tri was found to have traveled to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, in March 2021 to work at a local wholesale market. Once his employer was forced to shut down the business due to Covid-19 restrictions, Tri and his brother-in-law returned to his native Ca Mau province in July 2021.
Back in Ca Mau, Tri filed his medical declaration and was told by officials at a “Covid-19 control checkpoint” to self-isolate at home. However, he first went to apply for unemployment benefit and answered “dishonestly” when asked by staffers if he had traveled outside the province, local media reported on Monday.
Tri was supposed to self-isolate for 21 days, but reportedly did not obey the order to the letter. Four days into his isolation, he tested positive for Covid-19, with the court finding him responsible for infecting several other people, of whom one has since died.