Man, 22, fined for leaving home 30 minutes before end of quarantine, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Man, 22, fined for leaving home 30 minutes before end of quarantine

This article is more than 12 months old

He left home at 11.30am for prata, his lawyer says he thought the order had ended at midnight

From a bak kut teh meal to that must-have breakfast fare, timing is everything when it comes to food cravings and measures introduced to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Financial adviser Tay Chun Hsien, 22, felt the urge to have breakfast at a neighbourhood shopping mall even though he had only about 30 minutes to go to the end of his quarantine.

He left his Choa Chu Kang flat to have his meal, a trip that has proven costly.

Yesterday, the Singaporean was fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew said Tay had been suspected of being a contact of a Covid-19 case, and the director of medical services ordered him to be isolated in his flat.

Court documents did not state why he was suspected of being a contact at the time.

The DPP added that the written order "stated in bold and underline" that he had to be isolated in his flat from March 19 until March 22 at "1200hrs".

The Ministry of Health said in an earlier statement that Tay had acknowledged the content of his quarantine order when he received it. He had also noted he was not supposed to leave his home for the entire duration of the quarantine period.

Despite this, he left his home at around 11.30am on March 22.

It took him seven minutes to walk 550m to a foodcourt in Yew Tee Square in Choa Chu Kang Street 62, the court heard.

After that, he bought a prata meal and sat down at a table inside the eatery to eat it.

At around 11.40am, a Certis Security officer made a video call to Tay's mobile phone to check if he was home.

Tay was told to return home immediately after he told the officer he had left his flat to buy food. The offender complied and he reached his home at around noon.

Yesterday, defence lawyer Richard Siaw said his client committed the offence after he mistakenly thought the quarantine order ended at midnight on March 22 instead of noon that day.

Last week, Singaporean Alan Tham Xiang Sheng, 34, was sentenced to six weeks' jail for breaching a stay-home notice to have a bak kut teh meal after a trip back from Myanmar.

He was the first person to be convicted of exposing others to the risk of infection by breaching a stay-home notice.