Covid-19 patient pretends to be doctor & announces discharge notice as joke

The heavy Covid-19 outbreak over the past few months has left Vietnam in a pretty gloomy state. Understandably, humor is hard to come by these days and is for the most part, welcome.

But there are things you should joke about, and there are things you shouldn’t. Covid-19, for instance, is taken very seriously here, and any misinformation regarding the topic, even as jokes, can potentially entail great consequences.

One man learned that the hard way after he was given a heavy fine for pretending to be a doctor and announcing discharge notices for Covid-19 patients. Here’s how the story plays out.

He posted in a quarantine facility’s social media group using a fake account

patient discharge notice
An officer from Bình Dương Province’s Department of Information and Communication (right) working with Mr. H. (left)

Image credit: Zing News

As Zing News reported, on 8th September, Bình Dương Province’s Department of Information and Communication investigated the case of a certain Mr. T. V. H. on account of spreading false information.

Mr. H. was a Covid-19 patient being quarantined at a local facility. On 5th September, he created an account named “Dr. Long” on Zalo – a popular social media platform in Vietnam. With it, the patient then posted a false discharge notice in the quarantine facility’s shared group.

The notice claimed that every patient in the facility would be discharged on the next day. Understandably, this abrupt and bizarre piece of information caused a lot of confusion among everyone present.

He was given a heavy fine

Authorities were quickly informed, and an investigation pointed to Mr. H. as the one responsible for the false notice.

When questioned, the man said he did so as a joke for fun. Clearly, he never expected that his joke would spiral way out of control.

In any case, his action came with a repercussion. He was given a heavy fine of VND7.5 million (~USD330). The man also admitted his wrongdoing and promised not to repeat his action again.

Be careful with what you share on the Internet

Mr. H. might have simply wanted to bring some lightheartedness and stir up the boring life in quarantine. However, the method he chose was ill-advised.

It’s one thing to make a joke, entirely another to distribute downright false information that causes confusion and panic – especially about a sensitive topic most people take seriously such as Covid-19.

At least this time, the incident didn’t cause any great harm. Hopefully, the man will be more careful with what he chooses to post on the Internet in the future.

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Cover image adapted from Zing News

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