A 26-year-old Indian nationwide was sentenced to 9 months’ jail on Monday for making an attempt to depart Singapore throughout the top of the COVID-19 pandemic when he had been requested to attend in a hospital for the outcomes of his swab take a look at.
Balachandran Parthiban’s take a look at got here optimistic for COVID-19 after he was picked up by the police at Changi Airport and escorted again to Singapore Common Hospital (SGH).
He had taken public transport there, tried unsuccessfully to purchase a ticket to India, and loitered at Terminal 1 of the Changi Airport for about 4 hours, reported TODAY newspaper.
The overseas employee later breached an isolation order and went to the airport once more in one other bid to fly again house.
After he pleaded responsible in Might to at least one cost every of exposing others to the danger of COVID-19 and leaving an isolation space with out permission, his professional bono lawyer Cory Wong requested for him to be remanded within the Institute of Psychological Well being (IMH) for psychiatric analysis.
Following an almost four-week keep in IMH, Balachandran was recognized with “adjustment dysfunction with blended disturbance of feelings and conduct” across the time of his offences in Might final yr.
Dr Stephen Phang discovered that the “minor” psychological dysfunction didn’t trigger him to abdicate his capability to imagine psychological duty for his actions.
He nonetheless retained the psychological capability to distinguish proper from fallacious and was not of unsound thoughts, the psychiatrist added.
However, his subsequent psychiatric historical past confirmed that he later developed full-blown “schizophreniform psychosis, which was prone to have been reactive to, and precipitated by the continued stress of being held below situations of safety, collectively along with his ongoing issues about his household state of affairs again in India”, Dr Phang’s medical report acknowledged.
When in IMH, Balachandran reported listening to voices instructing him to commit suicide and which made it tough for him to manage his actions.
He’s now on a lowered dosage of antipsychotic medicine as he’s clinically nicely, the psychiatrist added.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew sought 10 months” jail for Balachandran, whereas Wong requested for six-and-a-half months” jail.
In sentencing, District Choose Ronald Gwee took into consideration two different fees of exposing others to the danger of an infection and of utilizing insulting phrases in the direction of a well being officer.
For every cost of breaking COVID-19 legal guidelines, Balachandran might have been jailed for as much as six months or fined as much as SGD10,000, or each.
The courtroom earlier heard that Balachandran was a resident of the Jurong Penjuru dormitory for overseas staff, which had been gazetted as an isolation space on April 18 final yr to forestall the unfold of the coronavirus.
On the morning of Might 23, he reported sick at his dormitory and complained of fever and sore throat.
He was then taken to SGH by ambulance to bear a COVID-19 swab take a look at at round 12.45pm.
About an hour later, he was transferred to the hospital’s “fever screening space” at SGH’s multi-story automobile park and repeatedly instructed to attend for his swab take a look at outcomes.
Nonetheless, he left the automobile park at round 5.35 pm with out giving discover as a result of he wished to purchase a flight ticket again to India at Changi Airport. He walked 2.1-km earlier than taking a public bus and taxi.
His swab take a look at outcomes later confirmed that he was a confirmed COVID-19 case.
On the airport, he tried to purchase his flight ticket, however to no avail, and was later picked up by the police after they discovered him loitering at Terminal 1. They escorted him again to SGH.
Balachandran accomplished his interval of isolation within the hospital on June eight final yr and was recognized to be not infectious. He went again to the dormitory, was ordered to serve one other 14 days’ depart of absence and was not allowed to depart the dorm.
However he once more left for the airport on June 16. He wished to depart Singapore as a result of he knew that there have been many dormitory residents who had been contaminated, the courtroom heard.
He took a taxi to the airport at round 5.50am that day with the intention of shopping for a flight ticket to India, however was once more rejected.
After spending the evening sleeping on the airport, he went to a relative’s house in Tampines the following day, and revealed that he had left his dormitory with out permission.
The relative known as and alerted Balachandran’s supervisor, and the police arrived to escort him again to the dormitory at round midday that day.