SINGAPORE: A 45-year-old man has lost his permanent residency status in Singapore after breaching a Stay-Home Notice while the country battles the novel coronavirus outbreak.
He will also be barred from re-entering Singapore, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Wednesday (Feb 26).
The Stay-Home Notice applies to Singaporeans and those living and working here who have travelled to at-risk areas in the last two weeks. The notice requires them to remain in their homes at all times for 14 days.
The man had travelled to China recently and was served with the notice and told about its requirements when he arrived at Changi Airport on Feb 20, ICA said.
However, he failed to respond to phone calls and was not at his declared place of residence when ICA officers conducted checks in the days after his return to Singapore.
On Feb 23, the man attempted to leave the country at Changi Airport and was warned by ICA officers that he had breached the requirements of the Stay-Home Notice.
He insisted on leaving Singapore, ICA said.
"In view of the wilful breach" of the Stay-Home Notice, ICA said it has rejected the man's application for the renewal of his re-entry permit, which allows a person to retain his PR status while outside of Singapore.
Minister of Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Thursday said that "people need to know that we will not hesitate to take strong action".
"Some people said that this may be a bit harsh," he said in a Facebook post.
However, the deliberate breaking of the rules in the current situation called "for swift and decisive response", said the minister.
"During this period we need everyone to cooperate," he added.
As of Feb 25, Singapore has 91 cases of COVID-19, including 33 who are still in hospital and seven in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Singapore implemented the Stay-Home Notice on Feb 18 in a bid to reduce the risk of COVID-19 cases being imported into the country.
The notice applies to Singaporeans and permanent residents, as well as long-term and work pass holders, who have travelled to China outside of virus epicentre Hubei province in the last two weeks.
Travellers returning from Hubei are subject to quarantine.
On Wednesday, the Stay-Home Notice was extended to those who have travelled recently to Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, areas which have been hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Long-term pass holders who flout the notice's requirements will have their passes revoked, while Singaporeans and PRs may face prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act.
"The Government will continue to conduct regular random checks through house visits and phone calls to ensure compliance with the Stay-Home Notice, so that the well-being of the community is not put at risk," ICA said.