Vietnam Airlines employee faces fire for breaking quarantine rules and spreading Covid-19

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By Doan Loan December 2, 2020 | 6:10 p.m. PT

Vietnam Airlines flight crew walk with their suitcases at Noi Bai airport to prepare to board a flight to Japan, September 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

The Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who broke quarantine rules and caused a mini Covid-19 outbreak at HCMC has been suspended and faces dismissal.

The 28-year-old, identified as “patient 1342,” has been suspended for his actions “which resulted in serious consequences,” the carrier said in a statement.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had asked him for an explanation after at least three locally transmitted cases were discovered at HCMC.

The flight attendant had returned to Vietnam from Japan on November 14 and had been quarantined for four days at a facility run by Vietnam Airlines in Tan Binh district of HCMC.

After two tests showed he was negative for coronavirus, he was released but told to self-isolate at home.

Only flight attendants are allowed short-term quarantine to ensure staff availability for flights.

But during his self-isolation at home, the airline employee came into contact with his mother and two friends, including a Vietnamese working as an English teacher who came to stay with him for a few days.

On November 29, 15 days after returning from Japan, he tested positive for the virus, and the next day the English teacher friend did too. The teacher had in the meantime transmitted the virus to a nephew and one of his students.

The flight attendant told authorities that he left his home on Bach Dang street in Tan Binh district at noon on November 21 to eat on Le Van Sy street in Phu Nhuan district.

He then visited Hutech University in Binh Thanh District on November 22.

Phan Ngoc Linh, head of Vietnam Airlines’ cabin crew division, was also suspended for 15 days for letting his subordinate violate quarantine rules.

The flight attendant had contracted the virus in the carrier’s quarantine facility, from another crew member who had returned from Romania.

The carrier also issued a public apology on Wednesday.

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