Worker who had Covid-19 went to Changi Airport last year in attempt to return to India

Balachandran Parthiban had also left his dormitory when he was supposed to be isolated there.
Balachandran Parthiban had also left his dormitory when he was supposed to be isolated there.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A worker who tested positive for Covid-19 had gone to Changi Airport, loitering there for four hours after staff refused to sell him a ticket to India.

Balachandran Parthiban, 25, had also left his dormitory when he was supposed to be isolated there.

On Friday (May 14), the Indian national pleaded guilty to two charges under the Infectious Diseases Act. Another charge under the Act and a harassment charge will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

On May 23 last year, Balachandran reported sick at his dormitory, complaining of fever and sore throat.

After he was taken in an ambulance to Singapore General Hospital (SGH), he was swabbed at about 1.40pm and told not to leave SGH.

But at 5.35pm, he left the hospital without informing the staff, travelling on foot and by bus to Lower Delta Road, where he took a taxi to Changi Airport.

Balachandran tried to buy a ticket to India, but the staff did not sell it to him. He then loitered at Terminal 1 for about four hours before he was found by police and escorted back to SGH.

On June 8, after he was found to be no longer infectious, he was sent back to the dorm to be isolated. But he left the dorm in the early hours of June 16 and went to Changi Airport again. When he was refused a ticket again, he loitered and slept at the airport.

The next day, he went to a relative's home in Tampines. After entering the flat, he revealed he had left his dorm without permission.

The relative then called and alerted Balachandran's supervisor. Shortly after, the police arrived at the unit and escorted the accused back to the dorm.

Balachandran is currently remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric observation.

For each charge under the Infectious Diseases Act, he can be jailed for up to six months, or fined up to $10,000, or both.