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Taiwan Worker Leaves Hotel Room For 8 Seconds, Fined $3,500 for Quarantine Breach

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

An unlucky worker has been slapped with a hefty fine in Taiwan as he stepped out of his mandatory 14-day Covid-19 quarantine for mere seconds.

Ever since the global spread of the novel coronavirus, many governments had to come up with lockdowns and new fines to clamp down on physical movement of its subjects in order to arrest the virus’ spread.

Several countries have been imposing curfews, partial lockdowns and hefty fines to curtail human movement as the pandemic has reared its ugly head again with cases hitting a new daily record. One such unlucky worker has been slapped with a hefty fine in Taiwan as he stepped out of his mandatory 14-day Covid-19 quarantine for mere seconds.

According to an NHK report, public health officials in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung have imposed a fine on a Filipino migrant worker a hefty sum of 100,000 Taiwanese dollars (approx. Rs 2,61,036 or $3,500) when he briefly exited for eight seconds in his mandatory isolation period.

The quarantine-defying Philippine worker was quarantined at a hotel in Kaohsiung City last month.

He briefly left his room and stood in the hallway. The seconds-long breach was captured on CCTV cameras by hotel staff, who later informed Taiwan’s Department of Health about his exit and that led to the hefty fine, the news outlet reported.

Video surveillance footage of the incident, released by local authorities, shows the man leaving his room. They say he stepped out to give something to his friend who also was a fellow quarantined person in the adjacent room without permission. The duo apparently maintained social distancing as the first worker left an item on a table for his friend to pick it up.

The ‘quarantine breach’ lasted some eight seconds but turned out to be extremely expensive for the Philippine individual. However, it is not immediately clear whether the second man could face any consequences over his involvement.

Taiwan has imposed one of the most effective COVID-19 responses across the globe and their efforts have been heralded globally. It imposes a 14-day quarantine on travellers from abroad, including its citizens, which does not permit people to leave their hotel rooms, no matter of the time duration.

Penalties have been handed to people who breached quarantine rules in 19 cases in Kaohsiung alone since last month.

The island, which China sees as an integral part, has a population of some 23 million, but it has reported only 700 cases of the disease since the global spread of the pandemic.

The Asian country has never imposed strict lockdowns or resorted to curtailing restrictions on civil freedom, like in mainland China. Instead, the government focused their response on mandatory quarantines, mass testing and speedy contact tracing, CNN reported.

Taiwanese authorities say that there have been no new domestic cases of Covid-19 for nearly eight months, however, cases among travellers from abroad are on the rise.

first published:December 08, 2020, 13:15 IST