Six people in northern Vietnam have been fined VND12.5 million ($541) each for spreading false information about the new coronavirus.
In Thai Nguyen Province, Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, 30, had posted on January 31 on a group chat in Zalo, a Vietnamese social network, that a local hospital had admitted three patients infected with the coronavirus, according to the local police.
“Parents should keep their children at home and away from crowded places, and take them to the nearest health facility should they show symptoms such as fever and running nose.”
Ngo Thi Trang, 30, saw the post and published it on her Facebook page, and urged people to share.
The police fined them VND12.5 million for spreading rumors.
In Bac Ninh Province, Nguyen Cong Hoang, 38, said on his Facebook page on January 30 that a local Chinese resident had returned to Vietnam from China with coronavirus infection.
“In the worst case scenario, Bac Ninh could become the nation’s epicenter of the disease.”
The post attracted almost 600 likes and shares.
Vu Quynh Mai, 25, who sells goods online, copied the message on her Facebook page.
They were each fined VND12.5 million for spreading false information.
In Vinh Phuc Province, two people were fined on January 31 for spreading similar rumors.
Earlier, three people in Hue, Vung Tau and Hai Phong were also fined between VND10 million and VND12.5 million for spreading rumors about infected cases.
Vietnamese authorities are cracking down on people spreading fake information about nCoV, which has been exercising the public.
The HCMC Department of Information and Communication has demanded explanations from three celebrities for spreading inaccurate information about the outbreak, including Ngo Thanh Van, producer and lead actress of action flick “Hai Phuong” (Furie).
Vietnam has so far recorded seven confirmed cases of infection.
As of Sunday China said 304 people had died out of over 14,511 confirmed cases of the disease.