Arbitrary quarantine measures affect people’s lives

Authorities block the area of patient number 833 living in Quarter 2, Dong Giang Ward, Dong Ha City. Photo: Hung Tho.

Quoting Mr. Nguyen Duc Sam, chairman of the People’s Committee of Phong Binh commune, Gio Linh district, Quang Tri province, Vietnam’s media on August 14 reported that district officials promptly quarantined 2 F1 people of the disease transmitted by the patient No. 833 after incorrectly quarantining another person.

Specifically, patient No. 833, who was declared as infected by the Health Department on August 9, reported to the authorities to eat at Ngoc Lan porridge shop, Phong Binh commune at 7.30 PM of August 4.

Immediately, the Gio Linh district authorities took the owner of Ngoc Lan porridge shop to concentrated isolation facility on August 10.

However, after being isolated for 3 days, the owner of Ngoc Lan porridge shop remembered that August 4 was the full moon day, so she closed the shop.

Patient No. 833 later said that she mistakenly remembered the porridge restaurant she took food was Ngoc Ly, not Ngoc Lan.

The incident of misrepresentation of the address, which has caused people to be unfairly quarantined, quickly spread widely on forums and social networking sites.

From a professional point of view, sociologist Dr. Pham Quynh Huong from the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences said that quarantine clearly has a certain effect in preventing the spread of SARS- CoV-2, but through the unfair isolation incident mentioned above, we can see the activities of leaders in dealing with the issue:

Vietnamese people don’t think like citizén in other countries such as the UK, France, and the US, but they are used to thinking like ‘I’d rather catch a mistake than miss it.’ That is, it is better to catch the wrong person, keep it wrong, and isolate the wrong one than to miss the infected people who would spread it to the community. If they compare gain and loss, or even death, for example, they will choose an isolation option. I think most Vietnamese do not feel emotional or dissatisfied with these things. And (the authorities), after finding out the mistake, they do not feel regret for their mistakes.”

Dr. Pham Quynh Huong also said that the Hanoi government in this epidemic did not require a social lockdown as before, but let local leaders decide on the actual situation. Therefore, localities will have suitable plans depending on their economic or social goals.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, which is updated at 9 am daily on the COVID-19 Disease Newsletter within 24 hours, as of August 14, there are currently 172,093 quarantined people nationwide. In which, the number of isolated people concentrated in the hospital is 5,222 people; the number placed at other establishments was nearly 25,799 people and at home, accommodation was 141,072 people.

A worker returning to his home country from a foreign country who is currently in isolation in the Thanh Tri quarantine area in Hanoi does not want to name for safety reasons said that such quarantine affects work, life and living of his family. Therefore, he suggested:

I see this the state is responsible. Naturally, people claim that they have to verify the truth, but quarantine the whole shop before discovering that the shop does not be related, I find it unreasonable and unfair.”

Explaining more about the interests of the owner of Ngoc Lan porridge shop in this isolation violation, attorney Nguyen Van Hau, chairman of the Center for Arbitration of Vietnam Lawyers:

If the shopkeeper requests for compensation and proves their losses, according to the provisions of the Civil Code, the competent authorities responsible for quarantine must compensate the shopkeeper in terms of economical damage and prestige.”

Still according to the lawyer, the wrong isolation of people in Quang Tri this time is just a mistake in the efforts of the local government to try not to let the sick people spread to the whole society. However, he also said that this case is very difficult, do not know how to handle it because the patient was wrong, remembering the wrong address, so things happen:

First of all, it is necessary to clarify that the authorities are verifying that the COVID has mistakenly remembered the shop owner, so this must take over the Commune People’s Committee, the cause of this is very unfortunate. I think it is necessary to learn from the incident, to be precise because it misses a cup for a mile. Therefore, the act of refusing or evading medical isolation, or coercion in medical isolation by the competent state against the infected person is to be very cautious. If there are mistakes that make people very uncomfortable, health authorities and commune People’s Committees also need to learn from their mistakes.

Besides, lawyer Hau said that patient No. 833 is also at risk of being administratively sanctioned in this incident if the person is held responsible. Hau stated clearly:

Administrative punishment must be considered the mistake of intentional or unintentional. The Government also has Decree 176 on sanctioning administrative violations in the health sector, so behaviors that can spread untrue information.”

In order to limit the complicated spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Hanoi government has issued a quarantine order for all contacts of SARS-CoV-2 positive patients. At the same time, it is also implemented concentrated quarantine for Vietnamese citizens returning home from abroad and foreign tourists coming to Vietnam by air or land.

However, the inadequacies in quarantine have been repeatedly mentioned in the domestic media, such as complaints about sanitation, accommodation in segregated areas, and hiring others to be quarantined or going hidden to avoid being quarantined.

From practical experience in the Thanh Tri quarantine area, Hanoi, in recent days, workers returned from foreign countries said that the quarantine policy has not yet been properly implemented.

Bringing a new group back, the flight from the US has a higher risk of COVID-19 infection but why put it in our quarantine area. When the morning came in, those people moved back and forth. The authorities should notify us to stay in the room. I agree if those people were taken to the upper room. But they were allowed to go freely in the isolated area where others with lower risk are living. What happens if someone has COVID-19?”

Particularly on August 14, the management of the quarantine area did not follow the general rule when buying milk tea to bring in for girls in a room on the 3rd floor, although it is forbidden to bring food from outside.

People in the isolated facilities said authorities should place different groups of people with different levels of risks in different zones in order to prevent spead of the disease in the facilities.

In the face of the above-mentioned events, the workers in isolation in Thanh Tri expressed their frustration in the current isolation work:

Actually I’m too dissatisfied with the management here. Instead of employees doing wrong, leaders have to take responsibility. This is the rule set out to comply. The line of the Ministry of Health I called reflected why we did not come out but they took new people to the community without knowing if the person has coronavirus infection or not, and the person on the line of the Ministry of Health that day said the line is used to receive positive cases or information from the hospital, but no complaints. I ask for the hotline for our complaints but the person did not give.

The domestic media on August 14 reported that the National Steering Committee for the Prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic unanimously agreed that maybe from now on, Vietnam will not have the same peaceful times as before. There is a permanent disease risk in all localities.

As of August 14, Vietnam has recorded 929 cases of COVID-19 infection, of which 21 have died.

On the same day, Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that Vietnam intends to order between 50 and 150 million doses of the Russian vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. (Translated)


Bình luận