Man charged with breaching COVID-19 stay-home notice to deliver newspapers

Man charged with breaching COVID-19 stay-home notice to deliver newspapers

State Courts 09
File photo of the State Courts in Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A man was charged on Tuesday (Apr 7) under recently enacted regulations for breaching his stay-home notice, in the first charging of its kind.

According to the charge sheet, Palanivelu Ramasamy, 48, was given a stay-home notice on Mar 21 this year by an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer.

However, Palanivelu allegedly left his Block 105 Towner Road flat on Mar 30 without reasonable excuse. He is accused of using public transport to travel to and from Goldhill Plaza, where he delivered newspapers.

He is set to plead guilty later this month. 

ICA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a news release that Palanivelu had arrived in Singapore on Mar 21, after spending about a month in India.

He was served a stay-home notice on his return and acknowledged that he understood its contents, in particular that he could not leave his home for 14 days, said the two agencies.

However, when a team of officers visited Palanivelu's home on Mar 30 to conduct enforcement checks, they found that he was not there.

According to investigations, Palanivelu allegedly left his home for about two hours to deliver newspapers, despite knowing that he was not supposed to.

He walked to a bus stop, boarded a bus that had other passengers, walked to Goldhill Plaza after alighting and took a lift to deliver newspapers to multiple units across different floors, said ICA and MOH.

He then took a bus home. 

"His actions exposed him to various people, and this non-compliance with the stay-home notice requirements posed a risk to public health," said MOH and ICA.

For breaching a stay-home order under the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 - Stay Orders) Regulations 2020, he could be jailed for up to six months, fined a maximum S$10,000 or both.

MOH put the regulations into effect from Mar 26 to give legal force to safe distancing measures and provide enhanced enforcement for breaches of stay-home notices.

On Tuesday afternoon, a man accused of breaching his stay-home notice for bak kut teh soup is set to be charged.

STAY-HOME NOTICES

A person issued with a stay-home notice will have to stay in their residence at all times throughout the 14-day period. 

Authorities will check on them using text messages, GPS location via their mobile phones, random phone calls and house visits.

READ: COVID-19 - When will a stay-home notice be issued and what does it mean?

Those who receive a phone call will have to take photos of their surroundings to verify their whereabouts, according to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). 

They will also need to monitor their health closely, with temperature checks twice daily and for respiratory symptoms like cough and breathlessness. 

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Source: CNA/ll(mi)

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