Student who returned from UK with flu-like symptoms on trial for exposing public to risk of Covid-19

The prosecution has criticised the student's behaviour as "abhorrent."

Matthias Ang | March 09, 2021, 05:35 PM

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A 24-year-old student who returned from the UK with flu-like symptoms is on trial for exposing the public to the risk of Covid-19 infection, CNA reported.

Esther Tan Ling Ying had returned to Singapore on March 23, 2020, and was served a 14-day Stay-Home Notice on the same day.

Allegedly went to food court instead of going back home immediately

However, instead of heading back home immediately, Tan allegedly went to the Orchis food court at Changi Airport Terminal 1 with her parents, according to court documents seen by Mothership.

Later that same day, she headed to Clementi Family and Aesthetic Clinic located at Clementi Avenue 3, where she obtained medicine and purportedly lied about her travel history, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani in his opening oral statement to the trial on March 9, 2021.

Tan subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 a few days later.

As such, Vaswani slammed Tan's behaviour as 'abhorrent' and added that she had 'no excuse' for the breach of her SHN.

He noted that Tan should have already been aware of the possibility that she had contracted Covid-19 given her symptoms.

ICA officer who briefed Tan called up to witness stand

In addition, the ICA officer who had Tan and several others on their SHN was called to the stand as the first witness for the trial, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

Tan's defence lawyer, Tan Cheng Kiong, in his cross-examination of the officer, questioned him at length about the briefing process and put it to him that the briefing had not been clear about when exactly the SHN started.

Here, Tan Cheng Kiong said that if a SHN begun on Day Zero, this would effectively give the SHN a a 15-day duration, and that travellers could be under the impression that the SHN only begins on the next day.

According to ST, DPP Sanjiv said that the period from day zero to one would be the first day, day one to day two would be the second day, and so forth. Making it a total of 14 days.

The officer agreed with the DPP, and said that the briefing was clear that recipients of the notice should return home immediately without delay.

The trial is still ongoing.

Should Tan be found guilty, she faces a fine of up to S$10,000 and a jail term of up to six months.

Top image via Unsplash