An Indonesian man was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for violating the quarantine order, failing to scan the BruHealth QR code on entering a business premises, and exposing the public to the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Yuda Prayoga, 22, admitted that on the evening of September 3, while undergoing a mandatory quarantine order, he left his residence without a mobile phone to go to a convenience store.
The defendant did not scan the BruHealth QR code or enter his personal details in the notebook upon entering the store.
He spent 10 minutes in the convenience store, where there were also other customers.
As he walked home with his purchases, a neighbour noticed him and informed the authorities.
DPP Nurul Fitri binti Kiprawi highlighted the aggravating factors of the case, particularly the fact that he was fully aware of being a positive carrier of COVID-19.
The defendant was also fully aware that his BruHealth application displayed a purple code, indicating that he was a positive case of COVID-19, and yet deliberately left his mobile phone at home to prevent being detected.
The prosecution sought for a custodial sentence to send a clear message that the defendant and any like-minded persons must strictly adhere to the requirements of safety and preventive measures issued by the authorities.
The DPP highlighted that such responsibilities lie not only in the hands of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the frontliners, but also a collective effort is necessary to fight the pandemic.
Magistrate Dewi Norlelawati binti Haji Abdul Hamid said a custodial sentence was appropriate and inevitable, to send a message to the public that such offences are not taken lightly by the court, as public health and safety are paramount considerations.
The Magistrate remarked that there was no justifiable reason for the defendant to go to the convenience store, as the MoH made the arrangements to send meals to his place of residence while he was undergoing quarantine.
“The defendant’s actions thwarted the MoH’s objectives to curb the virus, which could have caused unnecessary fatalities or severe infections to others. The defendant did not do his part in curbing the virus and was therefore socially irresponsible by exposing other public members to the risk of infection in a public place,” the court further observed.
The Attorney General’s Chambers reminded that any person found violating directions issued during the COVID-19 pandemic or any other offences under the Infectious Diseases Act, Chapter 204, is liable to prosecution and if found guilty, will face a fine of up to BND10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.