Singaporean Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has said that individuals found to be in violation of their mandatory stay-home notices will be prosecuted.
As Singapore tightens its grip on the enforcement of counter-measures aimed at alleviating the spread of the Covid-19 virus, government officials like Mr Shanmugam are beginning to come down hard on individuals who do not adhere to the precautionary measures put in place.
According to a report by channelnewsasia.com, Mr Shanmugam spoke in Parliament on Wednesday (March 25), and addressed recent reports of individuals caught violating the stay-at home notices given to them, saying, “I have given very clear instructions. Where these cases are verified to be true, we will charge in court.”
With the number of confirmed Covid-19 virus cases rising in Singapore, the Government is increasing its efforts to ensure that individuals–especially those entering Singapore, follow the guidelines of the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
However, despite a majority of cases being imported, Mr Shanmugam cited multiple reports of individuals who have deviated from the easy-to-understand stipulations of the notice. He noted that many of the reports which have come to his attention concerned individuals hailing from the United Kingdom–many of whom were found to have gone out to buy local food, host celebratory gatherings, and even drop by bars and clubs.
After citing the disappointment of Singaporeans over such reports, Mr Shanmugam also mentioned a recent report wherein a Singaporean hailing from Myanmar who breached his stay-home notice in order to get some bak kut teh. The individual, who even shared his venture on social media, is now being investigated after Mr Shanmugam took action in response to this serious violation.
Mr Shanmugam urged Singaporeans to practice social-responsibility by reporting any cases they may come across wherein the stay-home notice is breached. “We are trying to verify some of these messages of stay-home notices being flouted,” he said. “And if anyone, members of public, you have information about such behaviour, please give it to the police. We will follow up, and we cannot allow such behaviour.”
Mr Shanmugam, who said that the Ministry of Health is working on updating the Infectious Diseases Act, called for people to do their part in Singapore’s collective fight against the virus, saying, “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.”
The falsification of one’s travel history as well as the failure to adhere to the stay-home notice are punishable by law. Included in the list of possible consequences are jail time and/or a hefty fine–which could amount up to S$10,000.