SINGAPORE: The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has issued more than 7,000 Stay-Home Notices (SHN) as of 8am on Monday (Mar 9), with individuals required to prove their whereabouts through photos or via their phone GPS location function.
"Text messages are sent at various times a day to persons issued with the SHN," the authority told reporters on Wednesday evening.
"They are then required to update ICA of their location within an hour, through their phone’s GPS location service via a unique web link provided in the text message."
Officers will also make random phone calls and house visits, including to those who do not respond to the text messages or phone calls, ICA said.
Those who get the phone call must take photos of their surroundings to verify their whereabouts, it added.
The SHN was implemented on Feb 18 for Singapore residents, long-term pass holders, and foreign work pass holders returning from mainland China outside Hubei province.
These individuals are required to stay at home at all times for 14 days as a precautionary measure to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission in Singapore, in the event they contracted the virus in China.
The SHN is stricter than the leave of absence, which allows individuals to leave their homes briefly for purposes like having meals or buying household supplies, but slightly more flexible than a Home Quarantine Order, which requires individuals to be separated from others within the same home.
The SHN was expanded to include the same group of travellers returning from South Korea, Iran and northern Italy – all places that have reported large numbers of COVID-19 cases.
On Feb 26, a 45-year-old permanent resident (PR) became the first person reported to have breached the SHN after returning from China. As a result, ICA revoked his PR status and will now bar him from re-entering the country.
On Tuesday, the Education Ministry announced that a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) international postgraduate student had breached his SHN and repeatedly provided false information regarding his travel movements.
NTU has removed him from the postgraduate course and terminated his student pass.
ICA said it would not hesitate to take enforcement measures against those who do not comply with SHNs, including prosecuting them under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act.
Under the Act, it is an offence for a person who knows, or has reason to suspect, that he is a case, carrier or contact of COVID-19 to "expose other persons to the risk of infection by his presence or conduct in any public place or any other place used in common by persons other than the members of his own family or household".
Anyone convicted of an offence under the Act can be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to six months.
ICA said other penalties include the revocation or shortening the validity of one's PR status, long-term visit pass, dependent's pass, student's pass, or work pass.
"If one’s child or ward is a full-time student attending a pre-school, school or other educational institutions in Singapore, the child or ward might be subjected to disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal," it stated.
"For foreign students, we may also cancel the child or ward’s student’s pass or dependent's pass."