Student convicted of exposing others to COVID-19 risk after returning from UK, later tested positive
SINGAPORE: A student who returned to Singapore from the United Kingdom shortly after the stay-home notice regime was implemented for returning travellers was convicted on Monday (Aug 16) of exposing others to the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Esther Tan Ling Ying, 24, who was doing a bachelor's degree in acting in the UK, did not go home immediately after arriving in Singapore on Mar 23, 2020.
Instead, she went to a food court at the airport, followed by a clinic in Clementi, where she lied about her travel history and obtained medicine.
Tan, who later tested positive for COVID-19, had contested the single charge under the Infectious Diseases Act.
In the trial, she said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer who briefed her at the airport did not tell her to head home immediately.
She also claimed there was no indication in her stay-home notice that she had to do so. Tan also said she thought the stay-home order began the next day, based on what her friends told her.
Tan later changed her mind and said she thought the stay-home order would begin the same day that she returned to Singapore, but only after she reached home.
The prosecutor said she knew she had flu symptoms, but Tan said she thought it was her long-standing sinus issues.
The prosecutor then showed her a closed-circuit television clip of her coughing with her mask lowered in the clinic, as well as a statement she signed saying she wanted to get medication as she was afraid she had not recovered from her flu.
Tan will return to court for mitigation and sentencing on Aug 30.
For exposing others to the risk of infection of COVID-19, Tan could be jailed up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.