FILE PHOTO: Measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanoi
FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a protective mask as she drives past a banner promoting prevention against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanoi, Vietnam July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

December 12, 2020

HANOI (Reuters) – A Vietnamese court on Saturday sentenced the head of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control and Prevention to 10 years in prison after finding him guilty of wrongdoing linked to the procurement of equipment intended to help tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nguyen Nhat Cam, 57, was accused of overstating the cost of COVID-19 testing systems during a transaction, causing a loss of 5.4 billion dong ($233,483) to the state budget, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

Cam and his accomplices’ activities would negatively affect the image of doctors and the anti-COVID-19 agency, angering the public and undermining confidence in the healthcare sector, the statement said.

The court also sentenced nine other people to between three and 6-1/2 years in prison for their involvement in the matter.

Reuters couldn’t immediately reach their lawyers for comment.

With its usually strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam has managed to quickly contain outbreaks of the coronavirus. It has registered a total of 1,395 cases and just 35 deaths.

($1 = 23,128 dong)

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Additional reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by David Holmes)

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