U.S. Pilot Jailed In Singapore For Violating Quarantine Order
We’ve seen some governments taking quarantine violations pretty seriously. Domestically, Hawaiian authorities have arrested people in enforcing their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Internationally, governments are holding people accountable. An American FedEx pilot recently learned the hard way after being sentenced to four weeks in jail in Singapore. Yeargan pled guilty and was sentenced on Wednesday, May 13.
In April, Brian Yeargan entered Singapore from Australia on a 30-day short-term visit pass. At the airport, officials instructed Yeargan to remain in his hotel room until April 17, due to the fact he had recently traveled to China.
But on April 5, Yeargan left his hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport to pickup medical supplies for his wife. Yeargan claims his wife back in Alaska wasn’t feeling well, so he wanted to pick up some items for her. He went to four stores in a mall a good distance from the hotel and purchased surgical masks and a thermometer.
Interestingly, authorities discovered Yeargan wasn’t in his room when a team of officials performed a home check. Of course, Yeargan was already outside the hotel, in violation of Singapore’s mandatory quarantine period. FedEx, his employer, called him while he was out and instructed him to return to the hotel.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor’s Office said, “These items could have been sourced either after this (stay order) had expired or at the airport, closer to the hotel, or through other means including seeking the assistance of a local FedEx representative.” The DPP requested Yeargan be sentenced to at least six to eight weeks in jail.
Singapore’s Strict Quarantine
Singapore has one of the largest outbreaks in Asia, with 26,000 confirmed cases in a population of 5.6 million. Many of those infected are foreign workers living in dormitory housing.
Because of the severity of the outbreak there, quarantine rules are very strict, including video call check-ins three times a day with a government official. The quarantine also includes random spot checks to ensure compliance, which is how authorities discovered Yeargan violated the order. A Quarantine Order (QO) prevents individuals from leaving their quarantine location for any reason. If there is a situation where somebody under a QO needs something not available in their quarantine location, they are required to contact a QO agent.
Admittedly, I’ve written about some of the draconian measures in place in destinations like Hawaii. But that is in the United States, where I find some of those measures run counter to the U.S. Constitution. However, Yeargan was traveling for work in a foreign country that has a quarantine requirement and agreed to follow that order when he entered. In addition, I agree with the DPP that it does seem odd Yeargan needed to buy masks and a thermometer that day. Although his wife wasn’t feeling well, she was still back in Alaska. This is a tough lesson to learn, but his four-week sentence is a lot lower than it could be. The maximum penalty for violating the quarantine period is up to six months in jail and a $10,000 fine.