COVID-19: Public can inform police about those who breach stay-home notice – Shanmugam

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam addresses Parliament on 4 November, 2019. (PHOTO: Parliament screengrab)

SINGAPORE — Those who are serving their stay-home notices (SHN) are expected to comply with the notice, and members of the public can inform the police if they know of anyone in breach of it, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday (25 March), the minister referred to a circulating Facebook post detailing a man who allegedly left his house to eat bak kut teh, despite having just returned from Myanmar.

The post also detailed the man’s exchange with his friends, who advised him to comply with the SHN.

Shanmugam said that he has asked for the post to be investigated.

“(Any) member of public, (if) you have information about such behaviour, please give it to the police. We will follow up and we cannot allow such behaviour,” he said.

Stricter measures to curb spread of COVID-19

All Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from overseas apart from Hubei province must serve the 14-day stay-home notice while those who are returning from Hubei must serve a 14-day quarantine.

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, first time offenders who breach the SHN could be jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000, while repeated offenders can be jailed up to a year and/or fined up to $20,000.

Those holding passes, such as long-term visit passes or dependant pass holders, may have them revoked or their validity shortened, and be barred from re-entry. Students may also be dismissed or suspended from their schools.

Instances where penalties were meted out

Shanmugam was replying to a question by Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah who asked how authorities dealt with those who breached the SHN.

In his reply, he pointed out a case of a 45-year-old permanent resident who arrived at Changi Airport from mainland China and failed to respond to calls from the authorities. He was next seen at the airport, wanting to leave Singapore.

“Clearly a breach of his stay-home notice, his application for renewal of his re-entry permit was rejected by ICA and his PR status, therefore, was effectively revoked. And he has been barred from coming back into Singapore, so quite serious penalties,” the minister said.

In another case, a National Institute of Education foreign student had been terminated from his postgraduate course for breaching his SHN and for repeatedly providing false information to NIE regarding his travel movements.

“There is a wider duty that each of us owes to control the spread of COVID-19, and really not to endanger others, and expose them to infection,” Shanmugam said.
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