Nurse Jailed for Breaking Quarantine to Get Bubble Tea in Singapore

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A nurse in Singapore is now behind bars after violating a home quarantine order multiple times that included leaving to buy some boba.

Nurul Afiqah Binte Mohammed, 22, who was formerly employed at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), was given a 14-day stay-home notice after returning from a vacation in Australia on March 21, 2020.

The nurse reportedly informed her mother she lives with that she was supposed to stay indoors until April 4, 2020. But she left their home at least seven times, eventually contracting COVID-19.

On March 23, Nurul went out to buy some bubble milk tea. She took a bus from her Woodlands Drive residence to Causeway Point shopping mall.

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On April 2 and April 3, Nurul went to a pregnant friend’s home without a mask to help with wedding preparations. Multiple people were present in that house and none of them knew that she had to stay home.

By April 12, Nurul suffered from fever and a sore throat. She took herself to a hospital and tested positive for COVID-19.

Nurul was hospitalized and then transferred to a community care facility. She was discharged on May 17 after testing negative for the coronavirus.

Nurul’s history of repeat violations for her quarantine led to her prosecution. She pleaded guilty to three charges under the Infectious Diseases Act, according to Channel News Asia.

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A court sentenced Nurul to seven weeks in jail starting Jan. 22. There is no evidence that she spread COVID-19 to others, but for every possible charge, she could have been sentenced up to six months, pay 10,000 Singaporean dollars ($7,500) in fines or both. Another Singaporean Mohd Noor Salam Mohd Yusof, 40, was also charged in court on the same day as Nurul for violating their stay-home notice.

Four other charges were considered during the sentencing. It was alleged that Nurul also visited a Unity pharmacy in Woodlands Drive 44 on March 22, Nanyang Polytechnic on March 23 (the same day she bought boba), a FairPrice supermarket in Champions Way on March 29 and an Indian food stall opposite her residence on April 2, according to The Straits Times.

Nurul is no longer employed at SGH.

“SGH takes a serious view on this matter. All our staff are expected to uphold the highest level of professionalism and to fully abide by the rule of law and prevailing guidelines,” said Tan Yang Noi, chief human resource officer. “Disciplinary action will be taken against any staff who breaches the law.”

Feature Image via Getty (left), Unsplash (right)
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