How quarantine orders, stay-home notices differ

In a photo from March 5, 2020, a foreign worker under stay-home notice uses his handphone at a segregated area at the CDPL Tuas Dormitory. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Q What is a quarantine order?

A A quarantine order is the strictest among the measures and is issued to those who are, or are suspected of being, a carrier of Covid-19.

This means the person has either been tested positive for the virus or has exhibited symptoms after returning from an affected country. They could also have come into close contact with a confirmed patient.

Quarantine usually occurs in the home, but can also be served in dedicated government quarantine facilities or hospitals.

Those under quarantine will be isolated from others, and should monitor their temperatures and report their health status to their quarantine order agent at least three times a day.

For those serving out orders at home, spot checks will be carried out by officers. If found to be non-compliant, they may be required to wear an electronic tag or be detained and isolated in a hospital.

Q What is the penalty for breaching a quarantine order?

A As it is a legal order issued under the Infectious Diseases Act, anyone flouting a quarantine for the first time may be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both, with higher penalties for subsequent breaches.

Q What is a stay-home notice?

A From 11.59pm today, this will apply to all Singapore residents returning to the country for 14 days.

People served the notice will not require a dedicated room and toilet, unlike those under quarantine orders, but they should remain in their place of residence at all times. This means they should not go out even to purchase daily necessities. They should also not invite visitors to their residence.

Their family members may continue to live with them. However, they should observe good personal hygiene practices. If those under a stay-home notice become unwell, they should avoid contact with family members and seek medical attention immediately.

Q What is the penalty for breaching a stay-home notice?

A Singaporeans who breach the notice can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act. First-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.

Permanent residents and pass holders can have their permits or passes revoked or validity shortened. Students who breach their stay-home notices can also face disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal.

Q What is leave of absence?

A People on this are advised to stay in their place of residence for 14 days but, unlike those on stay-home notices, can leave to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2020, with the headline How quarantine orders, stay-home notices differ. Subscribe