Vietnamese Facebookers Interrogated, Asked to Delete Posts on Coronavirus Warning


Defend the Defenders, January 26, 2020


Authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Khanh Hoa have harassed several local Facebookers after they posted the news on Coronavirus infection in the area.

State media reported that the province’s Police Department has summoned a number of Facebookers to police stations for interrogation about their recent posts which stated that a local resident and one Chinese tourist had been infected with Coronavirus. After being questioned, these Facebookers were forced to confess that their news is not true. Police have also asked them to delete their posts.

Khanh Hoa is the coastal province with Nha Trang city becoming one of the most famous tourist sites in the country. Nha Trang is hosting hundreds of foreigners, mostly from Russia and China. Thousands of Chinese citizens have reportedly arrived in the city in recent days to spend the Lunar New Year, but most likely avoid Coronavirus endemics in their country.

According to some local Facebookers, on January 9, a local 10-year-old resident named Le Nguyen Thi Thanh Hien died from flu caused by Coronavirus NL63 strain. There was a death certificate issued by the authorities of the commune where her family resides as well as an email exchanged between the province’s health authorities about the case.

However, authorities in Khanh Hoa, including the province’s Health Department, have claimed that the province has not recognized any case of Coronavirus infection. There are only five suspected cases, three Vietnamese and two young Chinese tourists and they are placed under special care for further testing.

While China is chaotic from Coronavirus endemic with thousands of people infected and more than 50 deaths, Vietnam still opens its border gates with China, including flights from Wuhan, the center of the endemic.

Meanwhile, a hotel owner in the central city of Danang reportedly announced that it will not receive Chinese tourists given the threat of Coronavirus infection from China. In response, the city’s Department of Tourism and police came to the hotel to request the hotel owner to remove the notice and host tourists from China.