NSF who had COVID-19 gets jail for going to Bugis Junction after getting medical certificate
SINGAPORE: A full-time national serviceman (NSF) was ordered to stay home twice after having upper respiratory tract infections, but went out before his swab tests came back.
He tested positive for COVID-19 on the second occasion and had left home for 10 hours, spending time at the skate park in Somerset and Bugis Junction.
Fathullah Abdul Rahman, 22, was sentenced to 18 weeks' jail on Monday (Oct 11). He pleaded guilty to two charges of leaving home while under the conditions of a medical certificate, with another two charges taken into consideration.
The court heard that Fathullah was serving National Service at the time of the offences last year.
He visited the Civil Defence Academy Complex Medical Centre on the morning of Sep 2, 2020, complaining of vomiting and a sore throat. A doctor diagnosed him with an upper respiratory tract infection and gastritis.
Fathullah took a nasal swab test for COVID-19 and was given a medical certificate requiring him by law to stay at home for three days and to leave only after receiving a negative result for his swab test.
The next day, Fathullah left his home in the morning and met his friend at Bedok MRT Station. He travelled to Kallang with his friend and spent time with her there, returning home only at around 8pm.
He received a negative swab test result only the next morning.
On Sep 17, 2020, Fathullah visited the Civil Defence Academy Complex Medical Centre again, as he had a runny rose, a sore throat and a cough.
He took another nasal swab test for COVID-19 and was given another three-day medical certificate. He was told again that he had to stay home for the duration of the MC and could leave home only after receiving a negative swab test result.
However, Fathullah left home again the next day, taking the train to the skate park at 1 Somerset Road. After this, he travelled to Bugis Junction and walked around the area.
He went home only at around 10pm and spent about 10 hours outside his home with no reasonable excuse.
On the morning of Sep 19, 2020, Fathullah received the results of his swab test - he tested positive for COVID-19. He was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was warded for four days before being quarantined at the D'Resort in Pasir Ris until Sep 27, 2020.
An officer with the Health Ministry's contact tracing centre sent an email to the ministry on Sep 20, 2020, saying that Fathullah had left home during the period of his medical certificate.
The prosecutor called for between five months to six months' jail, saying that Fathullah had left his home for a considerable period of time on each occasion. He said his reason for leaving home was "frivolous, being purely social and recreational".
Fathullah's lawyer said his client slept in a three-room flat with several other people. When he returned from in-camp training, he faced house constraints and a lack of space, resulting in him leaving the house, he said.
For each charge of breaching a regulation under the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 Stay Orders) Regulations 2020, he could have been jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.