Guard had Covid-19 but flouted stay-home order

A security guard was infected with Covid-19 and told to stay at home, but instead he rushed out to a moneylender.

He then lied about his health status in order to be served.

Burhanto Rejo, 56, was sentenced to five months and two weeks in jail yesterday for flouting a stay-home order while on medical leave.

Burhanto worked as a security officer at a foreign worker dormitory in Tanah Merah Coast Road, which became a Covid-19 cluster in May last year.

On May 18, he started having acute respiratory symptoms and was placed on medical leave for five days. A doctor in Yishun Polyclinic reiterated that he had to stay home as required by law. Burhanto informed his supervisor, who also told him to remain at home.

At 9am on May 23, the doctor told him he had tested positive for Covid-19 and instructed him to wait for an ambulance to pick him up within the next day. "(The doctor) again told the accused that he had to isolate himself and stay at home," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Chong.

Burhanto was worried his family would not have enough money to spend for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which fell on May 24. He asked his niece to book a ride to Hougang Mall and from there, he headed to Goldstar Credit at The Midtown to borrow money.

Burhanto lied to the loan officer in his health declaration, denying he had flu-like symptoms and a stay-home order. He soon received a call from his sister that an ambulance officer was at their house. He rushed home in a taxi and was taken to hospital.

As a result of his trip to Goldstar Credit, the branch had to be disinfected at a cost of $600, said court documents. Three people he met - two drivers and a loan officer - and his family members were quarantined.

Seeking a six-month jail term, DPP Ng said there is a heightened need for general deterrence of any offence that endangers public health.

In his mitigation plea, Burhanto, who was unrepresented in court, said he was the sole breadwinner of his family.

District Judge Janet Wang granted his request to delay his imprisonment to Nov 22.

Correction note: The article has been edited to indicate Goldstar Credit is at The Midtown.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2021, with the headline 'Guard had Covid-19 but flouted stay-home order'. Subscribe