A ceremony of religious followers (Photo: VNA)
Regarding the probe recently launched into “Hoi
thanh truyen giao Phuc Hung” (Revival Ekklesia Mission) for “spreading
dangerous infectious diseases in humans”, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vu
Chien Thang said every citizen is equal before the law, and anyone who commits
violation of the law will be dealt with.
As of June
1 evening, 219 cases of COVID-19 linked with the Revival Ekklesia Mission in Ho
Chi Minh City had been recorded, according to the city’s centre for disease
have traced more than 2,500 people directly meeting the infected cases (F1) and
about 61,000 others with close contact with these F1s in 20 of the 22 districts
in HCM City, along with 11 other localities nationwide.
As this congregation is also
connected with two divisions and six congregations of three other major
Protestant organisations in HCM City and some other provinces, the number of
infection cases is forecast to keep increasing in the time ahead.
Given the scale of the
transmission, the HCM City police decided to launch an investigation into the
charge of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases in humans”.
The launch of the probe is
necessary and completely legal since several persons in the case were found to
have not complied with disease prevention and control measures regulated by the
State such as keeping physical distancing, making health declarations, or
Commenting on this issue,
Deputy Minister Thang affirmed that every citizen, be they cadres, Party
members, religious dignitaries or secular persons, is equal before the law and
anyone who commits violations of law will be dealt with.
He noted that recently,
Vietnam has punished and dismissed many officials for violating anti-pandemic
rules, showing the strictness of and all persons’ equality before the law.
All locations where COVID-19
infections are found, be they State agencies’ headquarters, civilian housing,
and places of religious organisations, must be sealed off in accordance with
regulations for the sake of public health.
Thang said the investigation into
the infection cluster at the Revival Ekklesia
Mission targets the act of violating the law on public health, but not
the religious organisation itself.
He stressed that there is no
such thing as the administration discriminates against or creates difficulties
for religious activities.
The first and foremost goal
is to protect the health of people and the community, including religious
followers, he added.
According to the deputy
minister, in May alone, four religious meetings with large numbers of
participants were organised at the house of the leader of the Revival Ekklesia Mission in HCM City, within an area
of just 50 square metres, which did not comply with anti-pandemic measures. As
a result, 40 of the 55 followers participating in the meetings at this location
have been infected with COVID-19, according to the official.
At a working session between
Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and the HCM City People’s
Committee on June 1, Deputy Minister Thang proposed local authorities suspend
activities of the Revival Ekklesia Mission to
serve the investigation and the containment of pandemic transmission.
asked authorities, especially those at the grassroots level, to intensify
inspection of local places of worship and meet with religious dignitaries to strengthen
the adherence to anti-pandemic measures./.