SINGAPORE: Individuals, event organisers and owners of premises who break rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore could face jail terms and fines under new regulations that came into effect at 11.59pm on Thursday (Mar 26).

Those who breach their stay-home notice will also face similar penalties. 

The regulations, which come under the Infectious Diseases Act, will give legal force to the safe-distancing measures announced by the COVID-19 Multi-Ministry Taskforce, and provide “enhanced enforcement” for breaches of the stay-home notice, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release.

Those found guilty of breaching the safe-distancing rules may be jailed up to six months, or fined up to S$10,000, or both, MOH said.

As previously announced, starting from Friday, gatherings outside of work or school are limited to 10 people, who must maintain 1m distance from each other. This applies in settings where “interactions are non-transient”, such as at supermarkets, restaurants and shopping malls. 

Owners of premises and event organisers must ensure that non-fixed seating is at least 1m away from any other seat at all times. If seats are fixed to the floor, alternate seats need to be demarcated as a seat not to be occupied. 

In public places where queues are formed, such as at retail stores or supermarkets, individuals need to stand 1m apart in the queue. 

Business owners and event organisers who do not abide by these regulations may be jailed up to six months, or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Individuals who intentionally sit on demarcated seats or stand in a queue less than 1m away from another individual could also face the above penalties.  

READ: Those who breach stay-home notice will be charged in court, says Shanmugam

READ: COVID-19 FAQ – When will a stay-home notice be issued, and what does it mean?

JAIL, FINE FOR THOSE FOUND GUILTY OF CONTRAVENING STAY-HOME NOTICE RULES  

The stay-home notice rules forbid all who are issued a notice from leaving their place of accommodation for the duration of the notice.

Those found guilty of breaching the stay-home notice may be jailed up to six months, or fined up to S$10,000, or both under the new regulations.

Since Mar 20, a 14-day stay-home notice is given to all travellers returning to Singapore, including Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders.

From Mar 25, returnees from the United Kingdom and United States will serve their stay-home notice in dedicated facilities.

In addition, the regulations also prohibit those certified by a doctor to have acute respiratory symptoms from leaving their place of accommodation for five days “without reasonable excuse”, starting on the day the medical certificate is issued.

Those found guilty of failing to comply with the above rule may be jailed up to six months, or fined up to S$10,000, or both

Singapore’s COVID-19 cases tally reached 683 as of Thursday. 

Of the 52 new cases reported on Thursday, 28 cases were imported and 24 were local cases, according to MOH’s data.

READ: Singaporeans advised to defer all travel abroad amid heightened risk of imported COVID-19 cases

The imported cases had travelled to Europe, North America, Middle East, ASEAN and other parts of Asia.

Eight cases had travelled to the United Kingdom while three cases had been in the United States.

Ten cases are linked to clusters or previous cases while 14 cases are currently unlinked. 

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