Coronavirus: ICA issues 77 stay-home notices within 12 hours of scheme kicking in

Officers manning the thermal scanner at the arrival hall of Changi Airport T1, on Feb 2, 2020. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Immigration officers have issued 77 stay-home notices as of noon on Wednesday (Feb 19), 12 hours after the scheme kicked in.

These notices were issued to Singapore residents, long-term pass holders and foreign workers who have travelled to mainland China in the last 14 days, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in response to queries on Thursday.

Travellers from Hubei province are excluded from this scheme, as they are quarantined.

Those who are issued the new notices, which took effect at 11.59pm on Tuesday, cannot leave their homes for 14 days.

This is stricter than the leave of absence (LOA), which allowed people to briefly leave their homes for necessities. LOA will no longer be issued.

Those who do not observe the stay-home period can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act, warned the ICA.

They could be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to six month, or both, for the first offence. For subsequent offences, this could go up to a maximum of $20,000 and up to a year.

Permanent residents and pass holders, including workers and students, may have the validity of their re-entry permits or passes shortened, or even revoked.

Students who flout rules can also be disciplined, including being suspended or dismissed.

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In the notices by the Ministry of Health issued by the ICA at checkpoints, the recipient is warned of the consequences of flouting rules under the stay-home measure.

Apart from not leaving their home, they are also required to avoid visitors and maintain a record of people they come into close contact with during the 14-day period.

Parents and guardians are responsible for their children or wards under 18 years old.

Issued in both English and Chinese, the notice also includes a form asking for details, such as the person's mobile phone number and address.

Those issued with the notice have to sign to acknowledge that they have received it and that they know the penalties for not observing it.

The Government announced the new measure on Monday after a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in Chinese provinces outside of Hubei, whose capital Wuhan is the epicentre of the virus outbreak.

Enforcement officers will do random calls and spot checks to ensure compliance with the new rules.

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