10 Indian nationals in Singapore charged with breaching COVID-19 restrictions

SINGAPORE, May 22: Ten Indian nationals, some of them students, were charged on Friday with breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore by holding gatherings in a rented flat.
Three of the group invited the other seven to their rented flat to drink tea, talk or study on the morning of May 5,breaching the social distancing measures in place to combat coronavirus, the Channel News Asia reported.
Under the COVID-19 regulations, meeting members of other households for a social purpose is prohibited and punishable by a maximum six-month jail term, a fine of up to SGD 10,000 or both.
The three tenants – consisting of a woman, Avinash Kaur, and two men, Navdeep Singh, and Sajandeep Singh – were charged for permitting others into their residence.
The other seven consist of a woman Bhullar Jasteena and six men – Arpit Kumar, Karmjit Singh, Mohammed Imran Pasha, Sharma Lukesh, Vijay Kumar and Waseem Akram.
All of them are aged between 20 and 33.
Avinash was given one charge of allowing Bhullar to enter the home to study at 11.30 am on May 5. Bhullar is accused of meeting Avinash to study and prepare for a school assignment.
Navdeep was handed three charges of allowing Waseem, Arpit and Mohammed Imran to enter the same house to talk and have tea at 9 am the same day.
The third tenant, Sajandeep, was slapped with three charges as well. He is accused of permitting Vijay, Karmjit and Sharma into the home to talk and have tea that morning.
The visitors face a corresponding charge each.
Karmjit said he was not aware of the law, while Imran said he arrived in Singapore just two months ago and was not aware of the rules, according to the Channel report.
Bhullar said she did not mean to “harm the rules of Singapore” and said she had to prepare for an assignment.
She said her intentions “are not bad” and that she cannot pay a high fine as she is a student.
“Maybe I made a mistake, I just regret it,” she said through an interpreter.
The three tenants said they will be pleading guilty when they appear in court again on June 3.
Most of the visitors are set to plead guilty as well, except Bhullar who will return for a pre-trial conference next month, according to the report.
Meanwhile, a Singaporean woman of Indian-origin was charged in court on Friday for leaving her house twice to meet her boyfriend during the COVID-19 “circuit breaker” period.
Renukha Arumugam, 30, was charged with five counts under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.
Renukha is accused of not wearing her mask over her nose and mouth. She told the court that she was “really sorry for everything” and did not intend to break the law.
“I’m unemployed, so if you are going to give me a heavy fine, I don’t think I can pay,” she said.
She will return to court on Jun 10 to plead guilty.
The city-state imposed a partial lockdown in early April after it was hit by a second wave of virus infections sparked by foreign workers, many of them Indian nationals, living in crowded dormitories.
So far it has reported nearly 30,000 virus cases, among the highest in Asia, but only 22 deaths. It plans to gradually lift restrictions next month.
Singapore will exit its “circuit breaker” period as planned on June 1, with measures to be progressively lifted in three phases from the following day. (PTI)