The Vietnamese government has issued an official directive on penalizing people for defying measures to prevent and control Covid-19, with hefty fines for not wearing face masks in public, Phap Luat newspaper reported.

The directive will take effect from November 15.

According to the directive, which has been adopted on the basis of a 2013 government decree stipulating administrative sanctions for violations of prevention measures in times of epidemic, people flouting face mask rules will be fined VND1-3 million (US$43.2-129.4), 10 times higher than the existing ones (US$4.3-12.9).

The Vietnamese government has required that people wear face masks at crowded public places like airports, bus stations, and supermarkets, since March 14.

Besides, the government directive stipulates fines for a number of other violations related to Covid-19 prevention and control.

Specifically, people who are subject to mandatory home quarantine but fail to do so will be forced into isolation at centralized facilities. If the persons in question resist the quarantine order, they shall be fined between VND15 million and VND20 million (US$647.2 – 862.9). Dodging quarantine may be subject to criminal proceedings.

People who spread false information or fake news that causes public confusion, commit commercial frauds, hoard essential items such as face masks and hand sanitizer, or irrationally raise prices of goods during the Covid-19 pandemic will also be punished as per regulations with fines of up to VND20-30 million (US$862.9 -1,294).

As of October 14, Vietnam has recorded 1,113 Covid-19 cases, according to Ministry of Health statistics. Among them, 1,026 have recovered and been discharged from hospital. The death toll remains at 35.

A total of 13,845 people who had close contacts with Covid-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit regions are being quarantined nationwide, with 143 at hospitals, 12,451 at concentrated facilities and 1,251 at home or in accommodation establishments.

This article was originally published in Hanoitimes