21-year-old fined NT$150,000 for home quarantine breach

02/18/2020 07:24 PM
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CNA File Photo
CNA File Photo

Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) A 21-year-old Taiwanese who breached home quarantine regulations on Monday to visit a friend in Hsinchu will be fined the maximum penalty of NT$150,000 (US$4,945), Tainan officials said Tuesday.

The woman, identified as Hua Shu-chen (花淑珍), was the first violator of home quarantine terms in Tainan whose name was made public.

According to Yen Chen-piao (顏振標), director of Tainan's Bureau of Civil Affairs, Hua returned to Taiwan from China's Xiamen on Feb. 4, and was supposed to have remained in home quarantine until Feb. 19 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

Individuals found in violation of their quarantine are subject to a fine of up to NT$150,000 under the Communicable Disease Control Act.

Hua remained in steady contact with city officials, who called her residence daily as part of the quarantine, until Monday, Yen said at a Tuesday press conference.

When officials called her residence at 9 a.m. on Monday, however, her family said she was asleep, although they later admitted that she had left home, Yen said.

Hua was eventually located Monday evening in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County by police who declined to disclose their method of finding her. After a local hospital confirmed that she did not have any symptoms of COVID-19, Tainan police officers escorted her back to her home, where she remains under quarantine, Yen said.

According to Yen, Hua traveled to Hsinchu by train and wore a surgical mask throughout the trip.

It was not clear why Hua decided to violate her quarantine just two days before the restriction would be lifted, nor why her family initially decided to conceal her escape, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) said at the press conference.

If she violates her quarantine terms again, her image will be made public, Huang said.

Hua will be fined the maximum penalty of NT$150,000 for breaching her quarantine due to the seriousness of her violation, according to Tainan Health Commissioner Chen Yi (陳怡).

She is one of three individuals in Tainan who have been found to have violated their quarantine, Chen said, adding that one other case was also fined NT$150,000, while the other's situation was still being investigated.

Meanwhile, Taipei issued eight fines in total on Sunday and Monday to individuals who violated their quarantine restrictions.

All of the cases involved people who left their residence for a short period of time and they were all fined NT$10,000, Taipei Department of Health official Yu Tsan-hua (余燦華) told CNA.

To date, the Taipei City government has fined 32 people for violating either their home quarantine conditions or home isolation conditions, according to a statement issued Tuesday.

Of the 32, 27 have been fined NT$10,000, four have been fined $70,000 and one has been fined NT$60,000, the statement said.

(By Yang Sz-ruei, Chang Jung-hsiang, Liang Pei-chi and Chiang Yi-ching)

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