A 63-year old man in Singapore will have to pay a fine of S$5,000 for violating a stay-at-home advisory and going out to get food. Dharamnath Singh is a retired technician who went to a doctor on April 6 while suffering from cough and cold. He was given a Medical Certificate (MC) with clear instructions to stay at home for five days. However, Singh violated it and went out repeatedly in the period.
He was charged and found guilty of putting others at risk of contracting COVID-19 as his infection at the time, initially diagnosed as 'Acute upper respiratory infection,' was not clearly established as not Coronavirus. The actions of Singh could have even led to a jail term of six months or a fine as high as S$10,000, if not both. However, since he didn't stay out for very long during his visits, he got away with a lighter punishment.
The facility which Singh visited was the Toa Payoh Polyclinic. The MC given to him was for the duration of five days, from April 6th to 10th. The certificate contained the following words: "Stay Home Notice - advised to stay at home during the period of the MC."
But Singh didn't take long to disobey the advisory. On the same day that he consulted the doctor, he went out of his house to get dinner. That was just the beginning. He continued to go out for fetching his lunch and dinner on the four remaining days, in total nine visits since the advisory.
This was despite the fact that the doctor he consulted made it abundantly clear that he would be violating the law by not following the stay-at-home advice. On top of it, Singh was provided with a number to contact the People's Association if he is unable to get home delivery or doesn't have anyone to help him out. Still, the sexagenarian proceeded to act in this way.
Discovery of the crime
The unwillingness of the man who will now have to pay the hefty fine was visible right from the moment he learned that the MC would contain the advisory of not leaving his place. Before the doctor issued the medical certificate, Singh tried to get the entire consultation canceled. He only relented when the doctor said he will have to inform the police if the patient went away without his certificate.
Interestingly, it was his own son who alerted the authorities over his father's conduct. The son told the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority on April 10 of his father's actions. Singh's case looked even bleaker as he didn't wear a mask on three out of those eight visits out of his home. Eventually, after the prosecutor asked for a fine ranging between S$5000-6000, the lower limit was chosen as the right one by the judge.