Man gets 9-month jail for violating Covid-19 rules

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Singapore

The foreign worker breached an isolation order and went to the airport in another bid to fly back home.

A 26-year-old Indian national was sentenced to nine months in jail on Monday for trying to leave Singa-pore during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when he had been asked to wait in a hospital for the results of his swab test.

Balachandran Parthiban’s test came positive for Covid-19 after he was picked up by the police at Changi Airport and escorted back to Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

He had taken public transport there, tried unsuccess-fully to buy a ticket to India, and loitered at Termi-nal 1 of the Changi Airport for about four hours, reported Today newspaper.

The foreign worker later breached an isolation order and went to the airport again in another bid to fly back home.

After he pleaded guilty in May to one charge each of exposing others to the risk of Covid-19 and leav-ing an isolation area without permission, his pro bono lawyer Cory Wong asked for him to be re-manded in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric evaluation.

Following a nearly four-week stay in IMH, Bala-chandran was diagnosed with “adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct” around the time of his offences in May last year.

Dr Stephen Phang found that the “minor” mental disorder did not cause him to abdicate his capacity to assume mental responsibility for his actions.

He still retained the mental capacity to differentiate right from wrong and was not of unsound mind, the psychiatrist added. Nevertheless—AFP

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