A press release issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) recently mentioned that it had promulgated two sets of regulations under the Infectious Disease Act, to give legal force to social distancing measures and for the enhanced enforcement of Stay Home Notices (SHN) issued amid the coronavirus outbreak in the city-state.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, the country has so far reported over 800 cases of COVID-19.
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As of March 21, all travellers, including Singapore citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term pass holders returning to Singapore were issued a 14-day SHN. From March 26 onwards, all returnees from the US and the UK are being made to serve their 14-day SHN in dedicated facilities.
Now, under the SHN regulations called the “Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 Stay Orders) Regulations 2020”, anyone issued an SHN must not leave their place of accommodation during the 14-day period.
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Further, any individual who is issued a medical certificate by a medical practitioner certifying that he/she has acute respiratory symptoms must not leave their accommodation for five days starting on the day the certificate was issued.
Violation of any of these rules can lead to a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to six months or both. The same penalties apply to those who violate the safe distancing regulations.
Under the safe distancing rules, gatherings outside of work and school have been limited to 10 persons or fewer and people have to maintain a distance of at least one metre in settings where interactions are “non-transient”.
Further, under the safe distancing rules titled, “Infectious Diseases (Measures to prevent spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020″, the organiser of any event that is not prohibited and that takes place in a public place has to make sure that the consumption of food is done in an area where people can maintain a distance of one metre from each other. It also says that, “the food or beverage is served in individual portions in a manner that minimises the time and extent that individuals may interact when eating”.
During such an event, the temperature of the attendees should be taken and the contact particulars of every such attendee also have to be noted to help in contact tracing if the need arises.
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The seating arrangements for such events need to make sure that people are seated at a distance of one metre from each other. If any person is found flouting these rules and “intentionally” sits on a seat not one metre away from another individual, he/she can be deemed guilty of an offence and upon conviction can be liable to pay a fine not exceeding $10,000 or serve a prison sentence of up to six months or both.
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