Singapore begins imposing hefty fines for not wearing masks

Bangkok Desk, Apr 15 (efe-epa).- Singapore began imposing fines of S$300 ($212) from Wednesday on people who do not wear masks when they leave their homes during a month-long partial lockdown implemented in the city-state to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“We had already updated our advisory on masks earlier… and that’s why we went out to distribute reusable mask to everyone and that exercise has completed over the weekend,” National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is the head of Singapore’s cross-government coronavirus taskforce, said on Tuesday.

“So we will now take a further step and make it mandatory for everyone to wear mask when they go out,” he added.

While the first offense will carry a fine of S$300, the second will carry a fine of S$1,000, the minister said, adding that more than 500 fines had been issued so far.

However, the minister explained that there would be some exceptions to this rule such as children below the age of 2 years or those engaging in strenuous exercise.

The minister also had a word of warning for foreign residents who, in addition to the fines, could have their employment, work status or even their permanent residency revoked if they were caught violating any of the rules of the “circuit breaker” period.

Singapore imposed a partial lockdown between Apr. 7 to May 4 after a resurgence of coronavirus cases, which currently stand at 3,252, with 10 deaths.

The city-state, which has drawn praise by the World Health Organization for its containment of COVID-19, announced this measure amid an upsurge of infections.

During this circuit breaker period, all non-essential businesses will remain closed while people are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.

Among those allowed to step out are people working with an essential service provider, specified schools or early childhood development centers.

People can also leave their homes to get essential goods and services or to exercise.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Singaporean authorities have distributed millions of masks among the citizens and were even sent them to homes by post. EFE-EPA


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