A 35-year-old Indian national was fined 3,500 Singaporean dollar for breaching self-quarantine orders and leaving his place of isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, authorities said on Wednesday.
Vardireddy Nageswara Reddy was supposed to be isolated from February 16 to 25 but he allegedly breached the order and came out on February 24.
Reddy was fined 3,500 dollars on Wednesday after pleading guilty to one count of breaching his home quarantine order.
The court heard that Reddy had come into close contact with a colleague who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. But he tested negative for the disease.
Reddy was ordered to be isolated at home because of his contact with a coronavirus positive person. Both orders stated that he could not leave his place of isolation at any time without permission, reported Channel News Asia.
However, a day before his home quarantine order was to end, Reddy left his apartment for a shopping mall at about 8.10pm on February 24, hoping to buy a shaver to shave as he was scheduled to return to work the next day and did not want to appear untidy.
As February 25 fell on a Tuesday, Reddy believed that it is inauspicious for Hindus to shave on a Tuesday, noted Deputy Public Prosecutor Regina Lim.
Reddy returned home from the mall after 20 to 25 minutes. However, an auxiliary police officer had by then visited Reddy's flat within five minutes of his leaving to check if he was home.
A search of the house showed Reddy was not at his residence.
The officer waited 15 minutes outside the flat to see if Reddy would return, before leaving when he did not show up.
The prosecutor had asked for a fine of SGD 6,000, noting that breaches of quarantine orders are serious, with the starting point for offences in the least serious category going up to two months' jail.
Despite being given a quarantine order, the accused deliberately breached it, stressed prosecutor Lim.
"He was eager to return to work clean-shaven. He could have waited for the expiry of the order to shave, but he did not," she added.
She also pointed out that Reddy chose a destination where he could have expected a significant amount of traffic.
Reddy, who was unrepresented, told the judge that he had tested negative after a swab test after his colleague tested positive for the virus.
Because of this, he felt the risk of spreading the virus was lighter, and said he was wearing a mask when he left the apartment.
"Are you able to pay the fine?" asked District Judge Ong Hian Sun. "Is your company paying the fine?"
"No, your honour. It is my mistake, I will pay," answered Vardireddy.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)